How long is a reasonable amount of time to wait to get permission from the European Union before introducing an adult-use cannabis legalization measure? That is the multi-billion dollar question facing Germany’s Health Minister who made a legalization presentation to Germany’s federal cabinet late last month.
The presentation to the federal cabinet served as the first true status update of sorts regarding the national legalization effort in Germany.
As it currently stands, it is expected that early next year a legalization bill will be formally introduced in Germany.
However, prior to that happening Germany’s government will continue to seek approval from the European Union, a strategy that some German lawmakers are pushing back on via their calls to introduce a measure by the end of this calendar year.
After the results of the 2021 federal election in Germany were finalized the incoming governing coalition wasted no time in announcing its intent to pursue adult-use legalization.
For folks that were in attendance during the 2021 International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in Berlin, held mere weeks before the historic election in Germany, the incoming governing coalition’s announcement was not entirely surprising.
At the 2021 ICBC in Berlin German lawmakers discussed their intent to legalize cannabis in detail if/when the election results were favorable. As we now know, the election results did indeed prove to be favorable for legalization.
‘Waiting Is Not An Option’
Late last week members from coalition government parties issued a demand that Health Minister Karl Lauterbach no longer wait for approval from the European Union, and instead formally introduce the adult-use legalization measure that he previously presented to the federal cabinet.
“Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach must now draw up a draft law for #Legalisierung from #Cannabis and present it promptly – waiting for #EU and remaining inactive is not an option! As the rapporteurs responsible, we are making that clear once again today,” stated Kirsten Kappert-Gonther (Greens) on Twitter (translated from German to English).
Kirsten Kappert-Gonther was joined in her call for urgency by Kristine Lütke MdB (FDP).
“Minister of Health @Karl_Lauterbach must not remain idle until the #EU commission has given its feedback! He must submit a #Gesetzentwurf for #Cannabis legalization by the end of the year – so that the controlled release is implemented quickly and does not come until the end of 2023,” stated Kristine Lütke MdB on Twitter (translated from German to English).
Another member of the Bundestag , Carmen Wegge (SDP), also weighed in on calls to expedite the legalization measure’s introduction.
“We believe that waiting for the #EU is not an option. Lauterbach has a clear mandate to act – through the Koa contract and the decisions made by the cabinet #Eckpunkte. We expect him to fulfill this now, he set the schedule for this himself in the summer,” stated Carmen Wegge on Twitter (translated from German to English).
Why EU Approval is Optimal
In the most perfect scenario, the European Union would sign off on Germany’s legalization plan.
I will be the first to recognize that we do not live in a perfect world, that cannabis prohibition is one of the worst public policies in human history, and that legalization should occur as soon as possible.
With that being said, if the European Union will grant Germany permission to proceed, it would save a lot of legal headache down the road, as previously described by Kai Friedrich Niermann.
Kai and his law firm KFN+ advise major CBD and medical cannabis companies around the globe.
Kai is also legal advisor to the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), and a regular speaker at International Cannabis Business Conference events.
“I assume that preliminary talks have already been held with the European Commission, and that no fundamental reservations are to be expected in this respect.
“Particularly in view of the fact that a number of member states are also already making preparations for a reform of their national cannabis policies. Minister Lauterbach also assumes that if the EU Commission gives its approval in principle, lawsuits from other member states pursuing a more restrictive cannabis policy will have no chance of success,” Kai Friedrich Niermann previously conveyed to the International Cannabis Chronicle.
Cannabis opponents inside and outside of Germany are no doubt doing everything that they can right now to brainstorm ways to derail legalization.
Just as German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is in the process of lobbying the EU for a favorable outcome, Bavaria’s Health Minister is also lobbying the EU, but with the goal of achieving the opposite outcome.
It’s a safe assumption that if a non-cannabis friendly EU member country can find any way to sue Germany to try to prevent legalization, it will do it.
From that perspective, waiting for EU approval would be a great thing and save a lot of time and effort, and would minimize distractions.
Of course, if the EU tries to slow the process down and drag its feet indefinitely, then at some point Germany will have to proceed. At what point that occurs, or if Germany is already at that point, is something that will continue to be hotly debated both inside and outside of Germany until there’s further movement.
This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.