From April to October? Bundesrat Proposes Delay in Cannabis Legalization

As the global cannabis industry continues to evolve, Germany’s move towards partial legalization of cannabis has caught the attention of startups and industry participants worldwide. Scheduled initially for April 1st, this legislative shift aims to regulate cannabis possession and cultivation for adult personal use under stringent conditions. Here’s a structured breakdown of the developments, concerns, and implications for international observers.

The committee also argues that legalization and the associated impunity from 1 April would mean that initially only illegally acquired cannabis could be carried. “Because on April 1, 2024, there will still be no harvest or dried material from home-grown cannabis.” The life cycle of legally grown plants will not be over by then, it can only begin legally then. “Consistent enforcement is therefore only possible if the entry into force of the Cannabis Act is regulated in such a way that only legally grown cannabis can be carried in public spaces.” Sufficient time for preparation is also needed for effective prevention.

The Legal Affairs Committee opposes the amnesty provided for in the law for cases that will be legal in the future. The planned deletion of entries in the Federal Central Criminal Register is “neither necessary nor justifiable”. Specifically, those affected should be able to apply to the public prosecutor’s office for entries to be deleted from the register. This is relevant for certificates of good conduct, for example. Convictions for possession, acquisition and cultivation of up to 30 grams of cannabis are particularly relevant, as the Federal Ministry of Health explained.


The Legislative Path to April 1st and Beyond

  • Initial Plans: The German Federal Parliament laid the groundwork for controlled cannabis legalization, targeting an effective date of April 1st. This initiative, championed by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), seeks to legalize the possession and cultivation of cannabis for adult personal use, with several regulatory stipulations.
  • Proposed Delay: However, resistance within the Bundesrat (Federal Council) has prompted recommendations to postpone the entire law’s enactment to October 1st. This pushback originates from three key committees: Health, Interior, and Justice, each citing specific concerns over the immediate implementation.
  • The Ampel Coalition’s Proposal: Under the coalition’s plan, non-commercial “cultivation associations” for collective cultivation would be permissible starting July 1st, marking a significant step towards liberalizing cannabis cultivation within regulated frameworks.

Key Areas of Concern and Recommendations

  • Health Committee: Calls for a reduction in the legally permissible cannabis possession limits, particularly to mitigate potential impacts on young individuals under 25. The committee also emphasizes the need for sufficient preparation time for addiction support services and authorities to adapt to the increased demands.
  • Interior Committee: Advocates for regulations to prevent multiple cultivation associations from operating in the same location, aiming to avert the formation of large-scale “plantations” contrary to the goal of small-scale cultivation.
  • Justice Committee: Questions the proposed amnesty for certain cannabis-related offenses, arguing against the expungement of records in the Federal Central Criminal Register for actions that would be legalized under the new law.

Implications for the Global Cannabis Industry

  • Market Dynamics: Germany’s approach to cannabis legalization—particularly the introduction of cultivation associations—presents a novel model for regulated production. This could offer insights into balancing commercial interests with regulatory objectives, especially in preventing large-scale cultivation operations.
  • Regulatory Frameworks: The detailed regulations and concerns raised by German committees highlight the complexity of transitioning towards legalized cannabis within a structured legal framework. These developments provide valuable lessons for countries and businesses navigating similar paths.
  • Innovation and Opportunities: For cannabis startups and investors, Germany’s evolving landscape signals potential new opportunities in cultivation, retail, and ancillary services. Understanding the regulatory nuances and proposed amendments is crucial for strategic planning and entry into the German market.


Germany’s tentative steps towards cannabis legalization represent a significant moment for the global cannabis industry, offering both challenges and opportunities. As the Bundesrat deliberates and potential delays loom, international startups and industry stakeholders should closely monitor these developments. The outcomes could influence not only the German market but also broader global trends in cannabis regulation and industry practices.


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