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The main mistake of legalization in Germany



Photo: DR

German spring will arrive with new flowers. Germany is the third country in the European Union to fully legalize the plant, after Malta and Luxembourg, Missing only the approval of the Council of States. In other European Union countries there is already a huge legal market for CBD and other cannabinoids, which can also be understood as a 'market without THC'. However, Germany made a crucial mistake.

With the German advance, there are now more than 9 countries regulating the so-called “recreational market” or “adult use” of cannabis globally. Basically, all countries in the world have some opening or legislation for medicinal use. 

Since Uruguay opened the path to legalization 10 years ago, at the national level, an anti-prohibitionist wave has been taking place that opens space to dream of more justice and perhaps an end to the war on drugs. We have a lot to celebrate and learn from these processes and it is important to emphasize the dedication of thousands of activists for the cannabis cause around the world, tireless in their mission.

“The premise we need to have when we think about legalization is that consumers already use cannabis, regardless of the legislation. (…) Therefore, laws cannot be created as if there were no complex production chain”.

It has been more than two years since the German legalization law has been designed and awaited with great optimism. An innovative and cutting-edge design was expected, given the country's importance on the European and global scene. But what we see today in the law does not reflect the expectations of the drafting process or the impact desired by the movement's articulation. The world of politics is a little disappointing, but the vote was significant: almost double in favor of legalization. The fight does not end with legalization and the effort is continuous to meet people's needs.

The premise we need to have when we think about legalization is that consumers already use cannabis, regardless of the legislation. Access is very easy and wide across much of the world. Therefore, laws cannot be created as if there were no complex, structured and international production chain, established more than 100 years ago within prohibitionism. 

“Not implementing the plant’s entire production chain with broad access could be shooting ourselves in the foot.”

That said, let's get to the fundamental error of German legalization: access!

5 main problems: 

  1. Home cultivation of 3 plants, with a limit of 50g per household, demonstrates that whoever negotiated these numbers does not understand cannabis, does not use it and has never cultivated it. It does not fully fulfill people's function and freedom to cultivate. Having more than 3 plants can be used to penalize anyone who exceeds this limit. In California there are 6 plants, in Canada there are 4, but there are other better examples on the planet, such as Thailand, where cultivation is unlimited.
  2. Cannabis trade in the dispensary system was not included in the law. At least initially, there will be no stores with THC products, although there are already hundreds of “CBD” stores with a wide range of products, including psychotropics. It is important to highlight that we are talking about the same plant.
  3. The “Club” system (associations, compassion clubs, social clubs) is a transitional system that will be adopted for cultivation groups with up to 500 people. This system does not provide broad access to the diversity of products that the “recreational” market has. Just look at the implementation of clubs in Uruguay. Furthermore, under German law you will be limited to 50g of flower per month. Compared to the Canadian market, a person can purchase 30g per purchase. The limit is much more in the money you want to spend than in the limitation by grams.
  4. In a false attempt to try to protect young people, the law places a THC limit on people aged 18 to 21. It doesn't make sense, because it is not possible to control and monitor the imposed limit. It is the part of the law that is for conservatives to see. When you understand the manufacturing of cannabis products and the way they are consumed, you realize that, in practice, it will be impossible to implement.
  5. Finally, tourists will not have access to the German market. This is supposed to happen in a country that borders 9 other countries and that has immense global tourism.

In other words, instead of innovating and proposing the next steps in the future of global legalization, Germany arrived timidly, bricolaging what went wrong in Canada and Uruguay. They forgot to look at Thailand and will not help meet the German government's objectives of ending the illegal market, reducing money from drug trafficking and increasing the quality and safety of products. Not to mention access to medicinal use.

Not implementing the plant's entire production chain and providing broad access could be a shot in the foot in the conservative and fascist scenario that prevails in today's Germany. It is necessary to remember that legalization is a long process and that regulation will be a new chapter in this story.  

Luna Vargas is an anthropologist, cannabis educator, speaker and founder of blossom, an educational platform dedicated to form professionals in the cannabis sector. Luna was born in Brazil and researches legalization processes in different countries around the world. She currently lives in Thailand.



[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]


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