Awaiting Change: The CanG Law and Germany's Legislative Odyssey
As 2024 unfolds, the global cannabis community's attention remains steadfastly focused on Germany, where the journey toward enacting the nation's adult-use cannabis law, known as CanG, continues to navigate through a complex legislative process. Initiated back in 2021, the endeavor to legalize cannabis for adult use in Germany has encountered its share of hurdles, with progress being both slow and unpredictable.
The previous year was marked by significant fluctuations in the legislative process, with multiple instances where a vote by the Bundestag was anticipated, only to be subsequently postponed, creating a pattern of uncertainty and delay. The Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV), a key cannabis advocacy group in Germany, has been closely monitoring the situation. According to recent updates from DHV, there is an expectation of a crucial Bundestag vote occurring later in the current month.
In an effort to gauge the current stance and progress within Germany's coalition government, DHV reached out to various factions at the beginning of the month. Responses were received from members of the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), however, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group, which has been notably criticized for its role in the ongoing delays, did not provide a response. DHV expressed its concern over this lack of communication from the SPD parliamentary group, underscoring the challenges facing the legislative process.
On November 27th, 2023, a joint press statement from the coalition factions indicated a breakthrough, announcing a consensus on a "paradigm shift in cannabis policy." According to Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, a spokesperson for the Green Party, the substantive negotiations have concluded, leaving only the formalities of approval by the Health Committee and an amended vote by the Bundestag. Kappert-Gonther emphasized the Green Party's commitment to a prompt adoption of the law.
Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, representing the FDP, echoed the sentiment of urgency among the coalition partners to pass the cannabis law. She highlighted the importance of balancing thoroughness with the need for a practical and sensible law that considers various factors including the protection of minors, public health, security, and the acknowledgment of social realities and individual rights. Despite internal coordination challenges within the SPD parliamentary group, Aschenberg-Dugnus conveyed a strong sense of optimism regarding the legislative process moving forward.
Amidst these developments, Dr. Rolf Mützenich, a member of the Bundestag from the SPD, addressed concerns related to the repeated postponements of the vote on the CanG law. In response to inquiries about the potential erosion of public trust in the SPD, Dr. Mützenich reaffirmed the party's support for decriminalizing cannabis, attributing the delays to a focus on ensuring that the law prioritizes health protection. He projected that the law would be passed early in the year and implemented as planned in April 2024.
As the legislative process for the CanG law continues to evolve, with further amendments anticipated, the broader context of cannabis policy in Germany is also marked by calls from the established medical cannabis industry for comprehensive regulatory reform. This underscores the significance of the year 2024 as a pivotal moment for the modernization of cannabis policies in Germany, reflecting the complexities and the potential for transformative change in the nation's approach to cannabis.
Source: International CBC