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Plans for Germany’s legal cannabis industry released


New details of Germany’s impending cannabis legalisation plan have been released after the leak of a draft proposal last week. The new report, which lays out plans to permit adults in Germany to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, was presented to Olaf Scholz’s coalition government on Wednesday.

The proposed rules will legalise the cultivation and sale of cannabis, making Germany the largest legal cannabis market in the world. The country’s Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented other key points of the proposed framework in a press conference, posted by Sud Deutsch Zeitung on Wednesday. It is understood that the current plans are based on proposals that were leaked last week, following review by the federal government.

Some lawmakers and legalisation advocates criticised some aspects of the original leaked proposal claiming that they would complicate efforts to draw consumers to the legal market. As a result, the new document has scrapped key provisions on THC limits in legal cannabis products among other changes.

While a limit will be placed on the legal possession of cannabis, the new 19-page report states that possession will be legal “regardless of the specific THC content and origin.” In contrast, earlier proposals suggested that possession could still be punishable if the cannabis product was not grown and sold within the country’s newly-regulated supply chain. 

Other key provisions of the new report include rules for personal cultivation, legal supply, and advertising. Under the proposals, adults will be permitted to cultivate up to three flowering cannabis plants for personal use. In the original framework, the limit was set lower at two plants. The proposal also lays out rules to ensure that plants are grown in a secure environment that is not accessible to children.

german cannabis protest placard
A pro-cannabis placard from a recent 420 march in Germany

The rules around the supply of cannabis in Germany’s legal market have been a topic of much discussion since the country’s government confirmed its legalisation plans last year. The proposed framework suggests that sales will take place at licensed retailers and possibly pharmacies. There will also be restrictions preventing the sale of cannabis at premises where tobacco or alcohol is sold. Significantly, the government has also approved the proposal for a ban on cannabis advertising.

While this latest development may have offered some clarity on what Germany’s future cannabis market could look like, Lauterbach states that a concrete draft law would only be released when it is clear that there can be no valid pushback from the EU. During his press conference, Lauterbach said, “we want to create clarity, if this law were to come to pass, it would be the most liberal cannabis liberalisation project in Europe.”

Furthermore, it is clear that the government remain open to receiving input and feedback from the cannabis industry itself. Still, many are optimistic about the proposals – including Lars Mueller, Chief Executive Officer of SynBiotic, who told Bloomberg that the government’s plan is “like winning the lottery.”

In addition to permitting the legal supply, possession and consumption of recreational cannabis, the proposed rules would cancel all “ongoing investigations and criminal proceedings for actions that are no longer criminal.” 

It remains uncertain when the German government could officially introduce its legal cannabis industry; however, Health Minister Lauterbach appears to be optimistic that legal sales could begin in 2024. 

“It’s important, but there are many other problems that are occupying people at the moment,” he said at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday. “It’s not a project where we’re putting pressure on, but it’s also not a lifestyle project.”

The plans to legalise cannabis in Germany were announced by the country’s coalition government in November, last year. This latest development represents the most significant step to date to realise this aim.


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