Taylor Wessing: Weed legal – German Bundestag decriminalizes cannabis consumption: What growers need to know now.

This article follows on from the update on cannabis legalization and the key issues paper.

Some call it a “milestone”, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach a “new beginning”, but it can also be seen as a turning point in German drug policy: the so-called Consumer Cannabis Act (Konsum-Cannabisgesetz) has just been passed by the German Bundestag. The vote took place across party lines, with each member of parliament being subject only to their conscience – a common parliamentary practice when it comes to ethical issues. According to the so called Ampel coalition (Social-Democrats, Green party, Liberal party), decriminalization is intended to combat the black market and ensure better protection of health and young people. It is thus implementing the first pillar of its two-pillar model for cannabis.

The Consumer Cannabis Act focuses on the personal consumption of persons over legal age of 18th. In principle, the possession, cultivation, production and trafficking of and with cannabis are prohibited. An exception to possession and cultivation applies to persons of legal age, who will in future be allowed to consume up to 25 grams of cannabis in the private sphere and also cultivate up to three cannabis plants. In certain areas (around schools, children’s playgrounds, public sports facilities, etc.), consumption is prohibited. In addition, cannabis may not be advertised.

The law also enables growers’ associations (Anbauvereinigungen). These are membership-based associations of persons of legal age for the common cultivation and distribution of cannabis to members.

To establish a growers’ associations an official approval is required. As part of the approval process, information must be provided on, among other things

  • the reliability of the persons authorized to represent the growers’ association,
  • the expected location and size of the cultivation areas,
  • the expected annual quantity of cannabis to be dispensed,
  • compliance with and guarantee of security and protective measures and
  • prevention and
  • a comprehensive health and youth protection concept.

Permission may be refused, among other things

  • if the persons representing the growers’ association do not possess the necessary reliability,
  • the articles of association of the growers’ association do not meet legal requirements
  • or the cultivation areas are unsuitable.
  • Growers’ associations must operate according to the principle of cost recovery and may not make a profit. Finally, growers’ associations are subject to comprehensive documentation and reporting obligations.

The license is limited to seven years and can also be subject to conditions and requirements at a later date. In addition, the licensing authority can demand comprehensive information, the submission of documents and access to the premises of the growers’ association. Compliance with the legal requirements is checked by the competent authority on a regular and ad hoc basis; it has extensive rights of access and inspection. Growers’ associations, on the other hand, have a comprehensive duty to tolerate and cooperate in the event of any inspection measures by the authorities.

Not much will change with regard to the import, cultivation and transfer of so-called medicinal cannabis. The previous regulations will be transferred to the Medicinal Cannabis Act (Medizin-Cannabisgesetz). The prescription and pharmacy obligation will remain in place.

The announced second pillar of the federal government’s cannabis strategy is to be implemented in a separate legislative procedure. Regional and time-limited pilot projects for the commercial production and distribution of cannabis in commercial supply chains are then to be tested. The pilot projects are to be scientifically monitored. The declared long-term goal is to ensure a clean and safe supply chain for cannabis. The second pillar is likely to be much more interesting for the cannabis industry, which does not specialize in private consumption. It is unclear when a draft law can be expected. We will keep you up to date here.

The legal regulations on growers’ associations should come into force on 1 July 2024. By then, you should have fulfilled all the requirements for obtaining approval. Our experts at Taylor Wessing will be happy to advise you on the legal requirements for the establishment and operation of cultivation associations and dispensing by pharmacists. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Source:  https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2024/02/deutscher-bundestag-entkriminalisiert-cannabis-konsum

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Author Bios

Matt Maurer – Minden Gross
Jeff Hergot – Wildboer Dellelce LLP

Costa Rica
Tim Morales – The Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica

Elvin Rodríguez Fabilena


Julie Godard
Carl L Rowley -Thompson Coburn LLP

Jerry Chesler – Chesler Consulting

Ian Stewart – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Otis Felder – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Lance Rogers – Greenspoon Marder – San Diego
Jessica McElfresh -McElfresh Law – San Diego
Tracy Gallegos – Partner – Fox Rothschild

Adam Detsky – Knight Nicastro
Dave Rodman – Dave Rodman Law Group
Peter Fendel – CMR Real Estate Network
Nate Reed – CMR Real Estate Network

Matthew Ginder – Greenspoon Marder
David C. Kotler – Cohen Kotler

William Bogot – Fox Rothschild

Valerio Romano, Attorney – VGR Law Firm, PC

Neal Gidvani – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder
Phillip Silvestri – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder

Tracy Gallegos – Associate Fox Rothschild

New Jersey

Matthew G. Miller – MG Miller Intellectual Property Law LLC
Daniel T. McKillop – Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

New York
Gregory J. Ryan, Esq. Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Tim Nolen Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Paul Loney & Kristie Cromwell – Loney Law Group
William Stewart – Half Baked Labs

Andrew B. Sacks – Managing Partner Sacks Weston Diamond
William Roark – Principal Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin
Joshua Horn – Partner Fox Rothschild

Washington DC
Teddy Eynon – Partner Fox Rothschild