Germany’s Cannabis Legalization Delayed Again—What Comes Next

Germany’s pivotal vote on legalizing cannabis, initially slated for this week, has been postponed until next year. This delay, prompted by the Social Democratic Party (SPD)’s concerns, marks another setback in the country’s journey towards legalization.

The postponement follows multiple previous delays, including one last month aimed at refining the bill. As reported in Marijuana Moment, critics in the Bundestag express concerns about the potential misinterpretation of the bill’s intent, particularly regarding youth protection.

Implementation Plans

Upon approval, the bill’s initial stages, such as personal home cultivation, could start as early as April. Staggered implementation includes opening social clubs for marijuana distribution by July. A complementary measure for commercial sales in select cities is also in the pipeline, awaiting European Commission review.

Political Hurdles

The delay’s roots are twofold: internal disagreements within the SPD and concerns about prioritizing cannabis issues during a budget crisis. The Bundestag might revisit the bill in January or February. SPD members voice a lack of consensus, indicating potential internal opposition if voted on presently.

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The postponement has elicited diverse reactions. Green Party members express disappointment but remain hopeful for a timely implementation. In contrast, The Left Party criticizes the SPD for succumbing to right-wing pressures, arguing for swift action.

Public And Organizational Responses

Public figures and organizations, including the German Hemp Association, have voiced disappointment. The association accuses the SPD of contradicting other parties’ consensus and jeopardizing the legalization timeline.

International Context And Next Steps

This development comes amid Germany’s ongoing dialogue with the EU and international stakeholders, ensuring compliance with global obligations and learning from other countries’ legalization experiences.

Post-final reading in the Bundestag, the bill will proceed to the Bundesrat. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, spearheading the proposal, emphasizes education on cannabis risks, countering criticisms from medical and law enforcement groups.

Interestingly, a recent international survey indicates significant public support for marijuana legalization in key European countries, including Germany.

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