Berlin. In Germany, the purchase and possession of 20 grams of cannabis from the age of 18 should in principle be exempt from punishment. This emerges from the key points of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) for the planned legalization of cannabis, which are available to the editorial network Germany (RND/Wednesday). They are currently being coordinated between the ministries involved.
After that, the self-cultivation of up to two cannabis plants should also be allowed. The amount of the intoxicating substance THC in legalized cannabis should not exceed 15 percent. In order to prevent “cannabis-related brain damage”, however, only products with a maximum THC content of 10 percent may be sold to young people between 18 and 21 years of age.The possession limit of 20 grams of cannabis should apply regardless of the origin of the cannabis product and the THC content. In principle, cannabis should no longer be legally classified as a narcotic.
According to Karl Lauterbach, the planned controlled release of cannabis in Germany is not trivial.
Advertising ban despite cannabis legalization
If young people under the age of 18 are caught with cannabis, impunity also applies. However, according to the key points, the youth welfare offices can oblige young people to take part in prevention courses. In addition, the cannabis carried is confiscated in these cases. The locations of cannabis shops are to be regulated: there should be minimum distances from schools, children’s and youth facilities. Without an appropriate license, dealing in cannabis remains a criminal offense.The sale of synthetically produced cannabinoids also remains prohibited.
Despite the legalization, it should remain prohibited to advertise cannabis products. A general ban on advertising applies, it says in the key points. “Recreational cannabis is sold in outer packaging (plain packaging) with no promotional design,” it further states. “Advertising purchase suggestions” through sales outlets or on the Internet are prohibited.
Pharmacies should also be allowed to sell cannabis
According to the key points, consideration is being given to not only allowing sales in licensed shops, but also in pharmacies. In this way, the black market could be fought better because of the broader range, especially in rural areas, according to the key points. “On the other hand, the suppression of the black market would probably be greater if recreational cannabis could also be purchased online, which is convenient and increasingly important,” it continues. It is also being examined to allow “specialist shops with consumption options”.
In terms of taxation, sales of cannabis products are automatically subject to sales tax.There should also be a “cannabis tax”. “A tax assessment based on the THC content seems appropriate,” it is suggested. This achieves a “pronounced steering effect”. Regarding the amount of the tax, it only says that the highest possible tariff, including sales tax, must lead to a final consumer price “which comes close to the black market price”.
The key issues paper also points out that cannabis needs must be covered from cultivation in Germany because importing is out of the question for reasons of EU and international law. “According to a preliminary assessment, international trade in cannabis for recreational purposes is not possible on the basis of or in accordance with international framework conditions,” according to the key points of the analysis. And further: “According to this preliminary assessment, national demand would have to be covered by German production.”
The Federal Ministry of Health did not confirm the RND report on request and referred to ongoing votes in the federal government. A Lauterbach spokesman said the departments of health, justice, economy, nutrition and the Federal Foreign Office were working together to implement the coalition agreement. Lauterbach had announced a key issues paper for the fall and a draft law for the end of the year.
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