Protecting Youth from Cannabis Consumption: Questions and Answers on the Cannabis Act (Draft)

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Why has the Federal Government decided to implement the controlled distribution of consumer cannabis to adults for non-medical purposes? What goals does the Cannabis Act pursue, and how will child and youth protection, as well as health protection, be preserved? What is prohibited, and what is permitted to what extent? Answers to these and further questions can be found here.

The short summary.

With the draft Cannabis Act (short: CanG), the Federal Government intends to legalize private cultivation for personal use by adults, as well as communal, non-commercial cultivation of cannabis in cultivation associations. This basic decision is recorded in the key point paper dated March 24, 2023, for a two-pillar model for the controlled distribution of consumer cannabis to adults.

The two-pillar model has been intensively coordinated with the federal departments involved in the cannabis project over the past few months and further develops the key points of the Federal Government for introducing a controlled distribution of cannabis to adults from October 26, 2022. It now provides for two pillars:

Pillar 1 allows private cultivation for personal use by adults and communal, non-commercial cultivation of cannabis in cultivation associations. The draft law for the first pillar (CanG (PDF, not barrier-free, 1 MB)) was given to the departmental coordination and then to the hearing of countries and associations at the end of June 2023.
Pillar 2 envisages regional model projects with commercial supply chains. The draft law for pillar 2 will follow in the second half of 2023 and will presumably be submitted to the European Commission for examination.
Moreover, the Federal Government aims to flexibly adapt and further develop the relevant EU legal framework in the medium term.

In the Federal Government’s view, the previous drug policy on cannabis consumption is reaching its limits. Cannabis is consumed in many places despite the prohibition of purchase and possession, and consumption has increased in recent years. The consumption of cannabis, which is obtained from the black market, is often associated with an increased health risk, as the THC content is unknown and toxic admixtures, impurities, and synthetic cannabinoids can be included, the potency of which cannot be estimated by consumers. The law aims to contribute to improved health protection, strengthen cannabis-related education and prevention, curb organized drug crime, and strengthen child and youth protection. To protect consumers, the quality of consumer cannabis should be controlled and the distribution of contaminated substances should be prevented. Incentives to expand cannabis consumption should not be created. Experiences from other countries have been determined in an external report commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Health in April 2023 and will be taken into account in the implementation of the project.

Due to the tight EU and international legal framework conditions and after an exchange with the EU Commission, the Federal Government has decided on a two-stage approach, in which first the private cultivation by adults for personal consumption and the communal, non-commercial cultivation for personal consumption and the distribution of cannabis in cultivation associations are made possible. In a further step, a regionally and temporally limited model project with commercial supply chains should be tested with scientific evaluation.

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