German health minister wants to speed up cannabis legalization

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz right, talks with Health Minister Karl Lauterbach prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The German cannabis law is scheduled to be discussed by the Bundesrat on Friday, but Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Monday that he will lobby all week to ensure that the bill is not referred to the Bundesrat’s conciliation committee. If it does, negotiations could be so protracted that the bill could not be finalized before the next federal elections in 2025.

Lauterbach said a postponement would mean a victory for the black market, and he believes it is time for the federal government to shape cannabis policy.

Legalizing cannabis was a key campaign promise for both the Greens and the Liberals (FDP/Renew).

When the three-party coalition took office, they made the ambitious bill a priority. Although the bill does not need to be approved by the Bundesrat, the Länder represented there can convene a conciliation committee to find common ground between the two legislative bodies – the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.

Conservative federal states led by the main opposition party, the CDU, such as Saxony and Bavaria, are also planning to convene such a committee.

“It is my goal that this law will never again be excluded from the conciliation committee,” Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer wrote on X on Saturday.

The provinces are mainly balking at the retroactive amnesty, which would make previous offenses null and void. Some states argue that this would require an individual review of cases, which would place an additional burden on the judicial system.

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