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420 with CNW — German Legislators Push Cannabis Legalization Vote to Next Year

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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German lawmakers have decided to delay the final vote on a cannabis legalization bill, initially set for this week, pushing the potential implementation of the reform to at least early next year. The bill, slated for its final reading in the Bundestag, Germany’s national parliament, has been rescheduled for a decision in December, according to member Carmen Wegge.

Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, a member of the Green Party, cited the need to refine certain aspects of the legislation as the reason for the delay. Despite this setback, she assured the public that legalization is inevitable, albeit postponed.

Responding to inquiries about the Bundesrat’s stance, Wegge confirmed that the legislative body representing German states would be compelled to make a statement in February if the Bundestag proceeds with the bill in December.

Although the delay is currently projected as a two-month setback, critics, including the German news outlet LTO, argue that the “traffic light” coalition government’s commitment to initiating the reform by Jan. 1, 2024, has been compromised. LTO questions the feasibility of enacting legalization by March.

The Bundestag had previously postponed the initial debate on the legislation by a week, attributing the delay to the conflict in Palestine and Israel. Last week, lawmakers in the Bundestag’s Health Committee conducted a hearing where opponents voiced concerns about certain elements of the proposal. The Union, a political alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), presented an alternative policy focusing on health protection, prevention, education and research, eschewing cannabis legalization.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party proposed redirecting attention to medical cannabis, advocating for its integration into national healthcare law to address risks and benefits comprehensively. However, several groups, including the German Association of Judges, the Federal Medical Association, and various police and medical organizations have opposed the coalition government’s legalization proposal.

The legalization measure, spearheaded by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, outlines provisions allowing adults to possess cannabis and cultivate up to three plants for personal use. It also introduces social clubs for marijuana distribution. Critics argue that these clubs could be limited by factors such as proximity to schools and membership restrictions.

Lauterbach initially disclosed details of the legalization plan in April, distributing legislative text in the following month. The government’s framework, approved by the federal cabinet late last year, underwent revisions to align with international laws.

Despite criticisms, lawmakers are also planning to introduce a second measure establishing pilot programs for commercial sales in various cities, with legislation expected to be submitted to the European Commission for review. The legislation outlines cost estimates for program implementation and regulation, projecting savings from reduced enforcement and anticipating new revenue through wage taxes from cannabis club employees.

If legalization is implemented the way it has been implemented in the markets where companies such as Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: CGC) (TSX: WEED) operate, the benefits of legalization could exceed more than taxes and jobs. Many more downstream opportunities will be opened, such as the development of ancillary verticals around the marijuana industry.

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