Germany Scales Back Cannabis Legalization
Sales would only be allowed by nonprofits, not stores.
German health minister Karl Lauterbach has had to scale back his plan for cannabis legalization.
Rather than allow Germans to buy up to 30 grams of weed in specialized stores, they could buy a maximum of 25 grams in “clubs” of 500 members.
There would also be a limit on the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive substance) in weed sold to users aged 18 to 21.
Anyone could still grow up to three cannabis plants at home. Criminal records for possession and self-cultivation would be expunged if the bill is accepted by the Bundestag.
Brussels says no
Lauterbach was warned by the European Commission that outright legalization would violate EU agreements.
The Schengen Agreement, which lifted most internal borders in the EU in 1995, commits member states to curtail the trade in “narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, including cannabis.”
European ministers confirmed in 2004 that there should be “effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties” for all drug sales.
EU law does allow member states to regulate cannabis for personal consumption. Most countries have legalized medical use.
From Amsterdam to Barcelona
When Lauterbach announced his plan in October, he said he wanted to avoid the Dutch model, where cannabis is technically illegal but has in effect been decriminalized. Specialized stores are allowed to sell up to 5 grams of weed per customer but cannot legally purchase the stuff, forcing them to do business with criminals.
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