Cannabis Industry Association Threatens Wave of Lawsuits Over Proposed Regulationation Proposal

Background: New Cannabis Legislation Faces Criticism

The German government has introduced a new draft law that aims to fulfill the promises made in the Bundesrat regarding the Cannabis Act. However, this proposal has faced considerable backlash due to concerns about its restrictive nature.

On April 16, the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) introduced the draft legislation to amend both recreational and medicinal cannabis laws. The bill is expected to pass through a shortened legislative process in the Bundestag.

Key Criticisms by the Industry

The Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW), through legal experts at Witzel Erb Backu & Partner, has criticized the proposal. They argue it significantly exceeds the promises made in the Bundesrat protocol and would create fundamental challenges for cultivation associations.

  1. Restrictions on Cultivation Clubs:
    • The new rules prohibit cultivation clubs from outsourcing bundled services. This means rental agreements, where landlords include electricity or heating costs, would be considered illegal “bundled services.”
  2. Licensing Issues:
    • The draft grants states the power to deny licenses if two cultivation clubs operate in the same building complex or even in the same location, regardless of potential efficiency or sustainability benefits.

Legal Concerns and Broader Impacts

A legal review commissioned by the BvCW concluded that the amendments are not only counterproductive but also potentially unconstitutional. The association warns that the proposed changes could significantly increase organized crime’s influence due to new restrictions on legitimate businesses.

The Role of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (BMEL)

While these regulations loom over the industry, the BMEL is now tasked with overseeing the regulation of the second pillar of cannabis policy. Under the newly adopted Cannabis Research Responsibility Ordinance (KCanWV), the BMEL will supervise non-medical cannabis use for scientific purposes. Previously, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) was responsible, though it had rejected all pilot project applications.

The BMEL, under pro-legalization minister Cem Özdemir, is seeking written feedback from industry associations on the proposals by May 10, according to a letter seen by Tagesspiegel Background.

Time-Saving Regulation for the Second Pillar

The regulations for the second pillar, incorporated into the existing Cannabis Act (CanG), eliminate the need for new legislative proposals. This speeds up implementation and removes significant hurdles.

Conclusion: Potential Legal Consequences

If adopted in its current form, this legislation is expected to trigger a wave of lawsuits from cultivation associations and their service providers. The resulting legal battles could overwhelm administrative courts and leave stakeholders with prolonged legal uncertainty., a member of the BvCW since its founding, is prepared to fight for the second pillar, advocating for reasonable regulation and industry development.

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