When Can We Sell Cannabis Freely in Germany through Retail Stores?

Since the enactment of the Cannabis Act (CanG) six weeks ago, which allows adults to consume and possess limited amounts of the drug, there have been demands for the implementation of the so-called “second pillar.” Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert is calling for a quick start of model trials for commerce to counteract the black market.

Section 2, paragraph 4, sentence 6 of the Cannabis Consumption Act (KcanG) authorizes the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) to designate a federal authority responsible for the licensing procedure and monitoring of cannabis for scientific purposes without medical reference. Based on this, the BMEL presented a corresponding draft in the form of the Ordinance for Determining the Competent Authority for the Licensing and Monitoring of Cannabis for Scientific Purposes under the Cannabis Consumption Act (Cannabis Consumption Science Competence Ordinance, KCanWV).

The KCanWV stipulates that the “Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) shall be the competent authority pursuant to § 2 (4)” of the KcanG. Anyone who wants to grow and trade cannabis for scientific purposes requires a license from a federal authority designated by the BMEL without the need for the Federal Council’s approval. This authority will now be designated as the BLE. This paragraph was only included in the KcanG after the cabinet draft. Attorney Peter Homberg (Dentons Europe (Germany) GmbH & Co. KG) suspects that “there might not be any further legislative initiative for the second pillar.” The planned regional pilot projects could then operate under this “research paragraph”: § 2 Abs. 4 S. 3 KcanG stipulates that for scientific projects with cannabis, “the §§ 6 and 7 paragraphs 1, 2, and 4 sentence 1, the §§ 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 to 21 as well as § 27 of the Medical Cannabis Act” (MedCanG) “shall apply accordingly.” If this paragraph is understood as a regulation concerning the implementation of the second pillar’s planned model projects, it must be aligned with the regulations of the MedCanG. Accordingly, no further law for specification would be necessary. These regulations specify, for example, the exact contents of the license (location of the business premises, the type of cannabis to be used, regulations regarding import and export, etc.).

The German Hemp Association (DHV) sees the advantage that another complicated legislative process could be avoided, allowing for quick approvals. The disadvantage is that if the CDU leads the government after the Bundestag elections, they could easily dismiss these projects without having to roll back a law. The CDU has already announced this. Meanwhile, interest in the new freedom of consumption seems to be partially present.

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