Cannabis Legalization in Germany: A Rocky Road with Unexpected Delays

In a surprising turn of events, the much-anticipated final vote on cannabis decriminalization in the German Bundestag has been postponed, much to the disappointment of the cannabis startup community. Despite earlier announcements by Dr. Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, Chairwoman of the Health Committee, that the bill would be passed in December, the SPD parliamentary group has now put a hold on the process.

Social Media Buzz and Disappointment

The news spread rapidly online when Dirk Heidenblut, the SPD’s health policy expert on cannabis, shared via social media that the final reading of the Cannabis Law (CanG), initially scheduled for the last session week of the year, would not take place. Citing objections from the top ranks of his SPD faction, Heidenblut, a vocal legalization supporter, expressed his inability to comprehend these concerns but confirmed the delay into the next year.

Coalition Partners Caught Off Guard

This last-minute veto by the SPD faction not only surprised the cannabis community but also their coalition partners. Kappert-Gonther expressed her disappointment, stating, “It’s extremely regrettable that cannabis is not yet on the agenda. It would have been possible to schedule it.”

Unresolved Issues and Political Maneuvering

The specific concerns within the SPD remain undisclosed. Carmen Wegge, the SPD’s legal policy expert on cannabis, directed inquiries to the faction leadership, which remains tight-lipped. A spokesperson for the SPD parliamentary group optimistically stated that the Cannabis Law is on its final stretch and expressed confidence in its timely passage in the new year.

A History of Delays and Controversy

The journey of the cannabis legalization initiative under the Ampel coalition has been marred by misunderstandings, internal government disputes, and numerous delays. Modifications to initial proposals, distribution of the project into two phases, and disagreements among factions and the Federal Ministry of Health have all contributed to the postponement of this legislation.

Political Criticism and Broken Promises

The postponement has also drawn criticism from opposition parties. Ates Gürpinar, deputy chairman and drug policy spokesman of the Left Party, criticized the SPD leadership for yielding to the “culture war of the right,” urging them to proceed with the legislation. Moreover, the coalition’s initial promise of introducing controlled cannabis distribution in licensed stores has been broken, primarily due to legal concerns related to international agreements and EU law.

Future Uncertain

As the cannabis community and startups eagerly await the legalization of cannabis in Germany, the road ahead remains uncertain. The question now looms: Will the SPD faction’s concerns be addressed in time for a positive outcome in the new year? Only time will tell, but the cannabis startup community remains hopeful yet cautious in the face of these latest developments.


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