The German Conservative Party opposes the legalization of cannabis in Germany and the European Union

Last week, the leader of Germany’s largest opposition party condemned the nation’s intention to decriminalize marijuana and asked the EU to step in and stop the initiative. According to the Associated Press, Klaus Holetschek, health minister of a Conservative-backed state government in Germany, met with the EU’s director-general for migration and home affairs in Brussels on Wednesday to call for an EU veto.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach made the proposal at the end of last month. The Associated Press said if the proposed policy became law, it would decriminalize possession of up to 30 grams (about 1 ounce) of marijuana and also allow the narcotic to be sold to adults for recreational use in a restricted market.

According to a June report by German news channel Deutsche Welle, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has promised several more progressive measures than his [Social Democratic Party of Germany] agreed on a coalition with the Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP). One of those reforms was the legalization and regulation of the cannabis market.”

Lauterbach, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said in June that he had always opposed legalizing cannabis, but that his opinion changed about a year ago. As Deutsche Welle noted at the time, he expressed his ambition to propose a new set of cannabis laws to the German parliament, the Bundestag, by the end of the year.”

However, such intentions were thwarted in September when the ruling party of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) expressed fears that the proposal they had developed might not be accepted by European Union judges.

Opposing the legalization of adult cannabis

At the time, a German government official noted that there was some skepticism about claims of a breakthrough by the end of the year. The complexity of everything is starting to set in and there is a better understanding of the risks involved. According to the official, they don’t want another motorway toll disaster, citing a plan to create a toll road that was scrapped after the European Court of Justice ruled it violated anti-discrimination laws by disproportionately charging foreign drivers.

Following the public release of his decriminalization proposal last month, Lauterbach said the federal government would check with the European Union’s Executive Committee. This is to test whether the plan approved by the German authority complies with EU rules and will only proceed with legislation if given the green light.

According to the AP, marijuana could be manufactured under license and sold to adults in licensed stores to help combat the illicit market. People would be allowed to grow three plants and own or buy 20 to 30 grams of marijuana.”

Holetschek denounced the idea of ​​the coalition government on Wednesday and called on the EU to fight back. According to the Associated Press, Holetzek said he had told EU official Monique Pariat that the federal government’s planned legalization of cannabis not only endangered public welfare, but he was convinced it also violated European law. He also argued that two EU deals compel Germany and other allied nations to criminalize the production and sale of drugs like cannabis.

Several European nations have decriminalized marijuana, although full legalization is still relatively uncommon. The small state of Malta last year became the first state in the European Union to legalize recreational cannabis. The new law allows residents to possess up to seven grams of marijuana and grow up to four plants in their homes.

Legalization of cannabis in Germany

According to Germany’s health minister, legalizing the possession of up to 30g of marijuana for adults and up to three plants for private cultivation could set a precedent across the European Union.

At a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Karl Lauterbach said: “If this law is passed, it will be the most liberal proposal to legalize cannabis in Europe, but it would also be the most regulated market. It could be a template for Europe.

The Social Democratic legislator stated that the main aim of legalizing cannabis in Germany was to help protect young people who were already using the substance in increasing numbers after buying it on the illegal market. Instead of increasing cannabis consumption, Lauterbach is concerned with strengthening youth and health protection. He explained that the existing “prohibition strategy” is not working because 4 million Germans have used marijuana at least once in the last 12 months.

When Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition took office at the end of the year, it announced its intention to legalize recreational cannabis. Still, progress on the legislation has been hampered by concerns that such a move would violate international treaties and EU laws. Germany plans to present an overview of its proposal to the European Commission next week to reduce the likelihood that a marijuana law will later be challenged in European courts.

Lauterbach said the government would not try to push through the German-style legalization of cannabis if the committee made it clear that it was incompatible with EU law. He announced that he would present a draft bill in the first quarter of 2023 if Brussels gave the green light. The plans detail the legalization of the legalization of the purchase and possession of up to 20g to 30g of marijuana for adult use and its use in private or public settings. Growing up to three cannabis plants yourself would also be allowed.

Lauterbach explained that the introduction of a general cap on the concentration of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and the legalization of edible cannabis products such as baked goods or chewing gum are still under consideration but unlikely. For those between the ages of 18 and 23, a THC cap is considered more plausible. Advertising cannabis products would be banned. The overview document states that there is a general ban on the advertising and promotion of adult cannabis use. Recreational cannabis is marketed without advertising and in the (neutral) outer packaging.

Although the German Pharmacists’ Association has spoken out against legalizing the drug and warned this week that it could force pharmacies to compete with other multiple vendors, the sale of marijuana products would likely take place in authorized establishments such as dispensaries. Lauterbach, the Netherlands, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis is still technically illegal, takes a different approach to legalization than Germany.


Opposition to the legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany seems to be gaining momentum. The ball is rolled to the Court of Justices of the EU, however, as they have the power to allow or reject Lauterbach’s proposal. Only time will tell how the drama unfolds.



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