Germany’s parliament will not be able to vote on the first phase of the country’s pending cannabis legislation this year.
It’s the latest setback for a draft law that has seen several delays and revisions in recent months as lawmakers attempted to revise and improve it.
Germany reversed its initial plan to implement nationwide recreational cannabis legalization earlier this year, instead opting for a two-phase, scaled-down approach with limited commercial opportunities.
Some German politicians argue that the latest delay does not necessarily mean that the law’s expected April 2024 implementation is jeopardized.
In an Instagram post, Dirk Heidenblut, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Committee on Health, stated that the delay would have no effect on the April timeline if a vote was held by the end of January.
The latest plan, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, calls for:
Beginning April 1, 2024, home cultivation and possession will be permitted.
“Cultivation clubs” will be launched next summer.
The draft law still leaves little room for profit for publicly traded cannabis companies like Tilray Brands, a Canadian licensed producer, and Curaleaf Holdings, a multistate operator in the United States. Curaleaf acquired a majority stake in German producer and distributor Four 20 Pharma last year.
German media reported that the SPD party leadership had expressed unspecified concerns, prompting the latest postponement of the draft law.
The SPD is a member of the ruling “traffic light coalition,” along with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens.
The new setback appeared to catch SPD allies in the Bundestag off guard.
Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, a Bundestag member and chair of the Health Committee, said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that the delay until 2024 was “extremely unfortunate.”
She did, however, say that if the bill is approved early next year, the law’s expected entry into force date of April 2024 could still be met.
The latest delay comes just days after the architects of the draft law made concessions.
Consumption was prohibited within 200 meters of schools, kindergartens, playgrounds, or cannabis clubs under the original draft law.
The new rule proposes to change that to “within sight” of the respective buildings’ entrance areas.
According to German media, membership in a growers association would necessitate a six-month stay in Germany.
Furthermore, Germany intends to double the amount of cannabis that can be stored at home from the cultivation of three plants to 50 grams.
The rule was heavily criticized because three plants can produce far more dried cannabis than 25 grams.
However, public possession would continue to be restricted to 25 grams.
The creation of regional retail pilot projects with commercial supply chains is the second phase of the legalization effort.
The goal of these trials would be to gather data to help inform future public policy.
It is unclear whether the current government will be able to complete the second phase of its legalization plan before its mandate expires.