Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

Germany has bowed to European Union (E.U.) pressure to scale back their cannabis legalization plans. Their revised legalization plan came after a meeting with the E.U.’s executive commission.

Germany’s agriculture minister is still adamant that the country is “pushing” for legalization. However, Germany’s health minister has said that the government would only legalize if it got the green light from the E.U.

That said, the minister told the media that “consumption will become legal this year.”

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

So what does Germany bowing to E.U. pressure look like? A 2004 decision forces E.U. member states to ensure cannabis sales are “punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties.”

The E.U. allows member states to detail their own regulation of the law. As well, there is wiggle room for personal consumption.

Because of this, Germany won’t see large-scale cannabis producers like in Canada or the legal American states. The initial plan was to legalize like American states, where the government more-or-less takes a hands-off approach and collects tax revenue.

Instead, the German response to E.U. pressure is to allow nonprofit cannabis social clubs. German adults can also cultivate cannabis at home (limited to three plants).

The German government will cap cannabis social clubs at 500 members. Germans also can only be members of one club at a time. The clubs can distribute up to seven seeds per person or five cuttings per month.

You must be over 18 to purchase up to 30 grams a month. Over 21, the limit is 50 grams per month or 25 grams per day. German legalization won’t include on-site consumption at these cannabis social clubs.

The Second Phase of German Cannabis Legalization

The Second Phase of German Cannabis Legalization

Germany bowing to E.U. pressure means they have to take legalization slow. The first phase includes cannabis social clubs, which attempt to displace illicit markets.

The second phase, limited to a five-year pilot programme, will see retail shops in selected cities. This approach is similar to Swiss legalization.

The second phase, if successful, will be broadened to include all of Germany. So far, details on the second phase are hazy. A start date or the selected cities have yet to be specified.

The pilot programme aims to ease E.U. pressure on German cannabis legalization. By testing commercial supply chains, so goes the argument, German officials can examine the effects of legal cannabis on public health and young people.

Despite Germany bowing to E.U. pressure and the second phase not yet receiving E.U. approval, German officials remain adamant that German legalization will be a “model for Europe.”

Superior Model to Canada?

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

Canada is the only G7 country to have legalized recreational cannabis at the federal level. While the Trudeau government designed the scheme to promote “public health” and protect young people, it was, in fact, a top-down corporate takeover.

Canada, in that sense, has the worst of both worlds. A corporate commercial cannabis market under the guise of “public health and safety.” Where the only way to succeed is by having deep pockets and selling equity.

Simultaneously, authorities target the bottom-up cannabis social clubs that predate legalization. Social clubs that consist of members who voted for the government that promised to legalize them.

The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, for example, is nearly 30 years old and has over 8,600 members. They are a perfect example of a successful social cannabis club. They should be legal, but instead, the B.C. government is doing everything possible to shut them down.

And they are far from the only ones.

With Canadian legalization, there is no room for nonprofits and the little guy. In Canada, cannabis legalization is a corporate playground.

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

Germany Bows to E.U. Pressure

While Germany bowing to E.U. pressure on cannabis legalization is a slap in the face to national sovereignty, it at least produced a plan that focuses on cannabis social clubs instead of rewarding contracts to large cannabis producers.

If cannabis legalization is about public health and safety, then German’s social cannabis clubs are the model for Europe (and the world) to follow.

But cannabis legalization isn’t about making public health busybodies feel better. It is about your right to bodily autonomy. And in that sense, the German plan suffers. THC limits and other prohibition-style regulations do not respect your rights.

Many expected Germany to bow to E.U. pressure. But the momentum for legal cannabis is ultimately likely to change international and European laws regarding the nontoxic herb.