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Germany: Cannabis Social Clubs Now Legal as Measure to Curb Black Market

Germany: Cannabis Social Clubs Now Legal as Measure to Curb Black Market

Local officials began accepting applications for prospective cannabis cooperatives from 1 July 2024. But it may still be some time before members can start obtaining cannabis under the country’s legalization law, with individual states free to set certain rules for the facilities.

Kyle Jager, Marijuana Moment

24/07/03, 12:00

This report first published in Marjuana Moment on 2 July 2024.


It became legal in Germany for adults to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use in April 2024, but there’s been no means of legally obtaining cannabis otherwise.


The social clubs—which can each have up to 500 members and sell up to 50 grams of marijuana per person each month—represent the latest iteration of the law.


The cannabis social clubs “are an important part of the fight against the black market,” Carmen Wegge, a lawmaker with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said in a social media post on Monday, according to a translation. “Even if you don’t have a particularly green thumb, a CSC is certainly a good alternative.”


Green MP Kirsten Kappert-Gonther called the social club portion of the legalization law taking effect “another milestone of a reason-guided” policy, adding that it “represents an elementary step towards curbing the black market.”


Advocates and stakeholders are still awaiting the government’s plan for the second pillar of the law that is expected to provide for a broader commercial sales model.


Last month, German lawmakers also approved a series of changes to the country’s marijuana legalization law , imposing restrictions related to impaired driving and giving states more authority to set limits on cannabis cultivation within their borders.


The amendments were the result of an earlier agreement between the federal government and legislators that was made in order to avoid a months-long delay in the implementation of the legalization law.


One of the changes gives states greater flexibility to set restrictions on cultivation at cooperatives that are now able to start dispensing cannabis to members. The regional governments will be able to impose limits on the size of the cooperative’s canopies.


In Bavaria, for example, the health minister said the state’s policies will be “as restrictive as possible,” with clubs not expected to open until this fall at the earliest, Augsburger Allgemeine reported.


A separate measure that federal lawmakers adopted last month sets a per se THC limit for impaired driving. The legislation—which has proved more controversial given a lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of such policies—makes it so drivers would be considered impaired if they have more than 3.5 ng/ml of THC in their blood. 


The amendment also bans driving if a person has used both marijuana and alcohol, regardless of the amount.


Meanwhile, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who has led the government’s cannabis legalization efforts, told members of the Bundestag in December that “we are currently examining” the commercial sales plan as part of the second pillar. But with legalization in effect, there has been increased pressure to expedite that process.

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