Anyone can grow up to three female flowering plants at home , Source: Budding / Unsplash

Germany dips toes into weed legalisation with non-profit clubs

Germany dips toes into weed legalisation with non-profit clubs

They will be the only viable supplier of cannabis and will only sell to their members

Yesterday, the German Federal Government unveiled a new policy proposition for legalising marijuana in the country. The proposal is a watered-down and cautious version of a previous bill, which met criticism from the EU Commission.

At the same time, legalising the recreational use of cannabis is part of the coalition agreement between the SPD, FDP and Greens. In their timid steps towards solving the issue, the federal government has shown very interesting proposals, namely – the creation of non-profit clubs to facilitate the growth and distribution of the substance.

Another feature of the proposed bill would be to let people smoke in public places, provided there is a sufficient distance to schools and day-care centres, as well as a 25-gram carry allowance per citizen. Importantly, the policy has not been voted in yet but officials say that would happen later this month.

Ending the war on marijuana?

The first policy proposal of the German government called for introducing the sale of marijuana in specialised shops, to adults for recreational use. However, that proposition was limited by international and EU laws. Nevertheless, authorities explained that allowing recreational use was still a goal worth pursuing in some form as a measure against the black market and illegal sale of drugs.

According to Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach and Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir, this would pull the rug out from under drug smugglers, free up police resources and help to regulate the quality of cannabis, protecting consumers from more harmful marijuana, contaminated with other drugs.

The policy proposal would allow citizens to carry 25 grams for personal use, while home cultivation is limited to three flowering female plants that must be kept away from children and young people. Consumption will also be allowed in public spaces, provided it is not near a day-care centre or school and for pedestrian zone there is a time ban of no smoking before 8 PM.

Importantly, people who have been caught in possession of up to 25 grams can have that violation removed from their record.

Non-profit clubs

In terms of the sale and distribution, the Bundestag has proposed a system with two pillars – the first would be managed by non-profit associations of people growing cannabis for personal use as a collective. These collectives can have up to 500 members with no members under the age of 18.

The collectives can sell cannabis among themselves with a maximum of 25 grams per day and 50 grams per month. For members under the age of 21, that amount is 30 grams per month and must have a lower concentration of the plant’s active ingredient.

Membership in more than one club is also prohibited and the clubs will not be able to advertise or serve alcohol. Additionally, they must also run youth protection, addiction and prevention officers. Also, the clubs cannot be within a certain distance of day-care centres and schools.

The second pillar would be the opening of commercial specialised shops but only in certain cities which will be able to sell cannabis products to locals. These would be open for a period of five years functioning like pilot projects, though the government has yet to propose locations.

Authorities would assess their effectiveness in reducing the black market trade of drugs, as well as a wider effect on the community. According to Minister Lauterbach, if they do not meet the government’s expectations, it is very possible that Germany will remain with non-profit clubs as the only option for distribution.



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