Germany is on the path to legalize recreational cannabis this year, but challenges are surfacing.
New concerns from Germany’s interior ministers and other government personnel have put proposed legislation for legal recreational cannabis under further review and discussion (1). The concerns for the Cannabis Act (CanG) center on issues such as the potential effects on organized crime and public health protections, especially for children and young adults (1). Earlier revisions last year included plans for a legal market and several politicians had declared their optimism for passing the legislating in 2024, despite the new issues that rose in December 2023 (1,2).
A recently released report from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BMK) further explained the legal and criminal implications that have reportedly not been sufficiently addressed (1). Commissioned in June 2023 and made available to the public on January 15, 2024, the report is a compilation of concerns such as the increased resources law enforcement will need against organized crime and impaired driving, plus the establishment of regulation for the controlled cannabis products (3).
Several politicians in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are also voicing their calls for revision of the legislation (1). "I would warn against suggesting that cannabis is harmless just because possession in certain quantities is likely to go unpunished,” stated justice minister Kathrin Wahlmann in a recent conference, translated from German to English (2). “From my many years of experience as a criminal judge, I know very well that cannabis consumption—depending on predisposition and extent of consumption—is particularly dangerous, can cause significant damage to the brains of young consumers."
If the legislation passes, Germany would be the third country in Europe to make cannabis for recreational purposes legal (1). The Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach of the SPD party, has previously voiced support for legalization (1).
Also see our coverage of Germany’s initial move toward legalization.