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Senate Majority Leader Announces Federal Cannabis Bill Proposal

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Just prior to a press conference on July 14, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Senator Cory Booker released the details of their long-awaited cannabis reform bill, entitled the “Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.”

The bill provides a widespread plan to regulate cannabis on multiple levels. If passed, the bill would deschedule cannabis, set up plans for widespread conviction expungement and allow states to continue to manage their respective cannabis program policies. It would implement a federal tax, the funds of which would go toward people who were most negatively affected by the War on Drugs, especially those who want to get into the industry in some way.

Another big change would be to take power away from the Drug Enforcement Administration, and instead give control to three different government organizations—mainly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA would be “recognized as the primary federal regulatory authority with respect to the manufacture and marketing of cannabis products, including requirements related to minimum national good manufacturing practice, product standards, registration and listing, and labeling information related to ingredients and directions for use.” The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms would also be given more control in regards to taxes and product tracking.

Social equity receives a lot of support in the senate bill, which seeks to expunge all cannabis-related arrests and convictions within one year if the bill is passed. “Communities that have been most harmed by cannabis prohibition are benefitting the least from the legal marijuana marketplace legacy of racial and ethnic injustices, compounded by the disproportionate collateral consequences of 80 years of cannabis prohibition enforcement, now limits participation in the industry,” the bill text reads.

Furthermore, the bill establishes three grants that would 1.) provide money to programs that assists with those who were negatively affected by the War on Drugs, 2.) help with small business loans for those “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” and 3.) establish the “Equitable Licensing Grant Program” which would reduce certain requirements for those affected by the War on Drugs who want to get into the industry.

A large section of the bill is dedicated to tax rates, proposing a 10 percent tax during the first year if the bill becomes law. The tax would increase every year to 15 percent, then 20 percent, and finally 25 percent. Small cannabis businesses would be supported, and would received a rate reduction if they make less than $20 million in sales revenue in a single year. The bill also goes into detail about the approval process for cannabis businesses.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act also includes a variety of other details, from establishing which government organizations will manage which parts of the industry, the implementation of federal studies to determine if change is necessary, a countrywide age limit to consume cannabis and the redefinition of cannabis.

Senate Cannabis Bill Has Been in the Works for Months

This bill has been many months in the making. Following the senate’s original press statement announcing their plans to put forth a federal cannabis bill on February 1, Schumer, Wyden and Booker met virtually on February 5 with a individuals representing organizations such as NORML, Drug Policy Alliance and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the National Cannabis Industry Association and Minority Cannabis Business Association.

For about an hour, the meeting members discussed a variety of topics, from social equity to tax proposals. The three politicians used this time to consider valuable information from cannabis leaders. “I had a great meeting yesterday with @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and leading marijuana justice groups from across the country to strategize about working together to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and repair the damage done to communities by the War on Drugs,” Senate Majority Leader Schumer Tweeted on February 6.

“Thank you to @NORML, @DrugPolicyOrg, @CivilRightsOrg, @ACLU, @MinCannBusAssoc, and so many more for your work to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, make criminal justice reforms, and ensure equity for communities—especially those of color—impacted by the War on Drugs!”

In March, Schumer, Wyden and Booker stated that they want to support small businesses in the cannabis industry with their bill, while denying power for larger alcohol and tobacco-based companies vying for a piece of the cannabis industry. “We don’t want the big tobacco companies and the big liquor companies to swoop in and take over,” Schumer said. “The legislation we have will make sure that smaller businesses, businesses in communities of color, get the advantage because communities of color have paid the price for decades. They should at least get something back.”

Throughout the year, Schumer has spoken out frequently about the need for cannabis reform, stating that he wants to proceed with federal legalization with or without President Joe Biden’s support. “We will move forward,” Schumer told Politico in an interview. “[President Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.”

Schumer, Wyden and Booker are currently seeking comments about their bill, and welcome any feedback. If you feel you have a question or concern about the bill in its current form, you can send an email to Cannabis_Reform@finance.senate.gov by September 1.





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Why Are Local Governments Sabotaging Hemp Industry?

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Hemp has been the enemy to many business sectors for decades, and its illegal status kept it from competition. The 2018 US Farm Bill changed this, re-opening an industrial hemp market. But what should have taken off, hasn’t. What’s most confusing, is that its actually local governments which pose the biggest blockades to the hemp industry thriving. Why would they do this when it means getting in the way of a lucrative industry?

The federal government might have chosen to legalize hemp production in 2018, but local governments have repeatedly made it hard for hemp farmers and the overall market; with incredibly strict, over-bearing regulation. Our 100% independent news publication focuses on stories in the growing cannabis and psychedelics spaces. We provide the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for readers to stay updated, and offer tons of deals for a range of products, from smoking devices to cannabinoid products like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC. You can find deals in our ‘best of’ lists, for which we ask you only buy products you are comfortable with using.


Hemp in the US

The history of hemp is a sordid story which reminds us that the US government doesn’t always act for the good of the people, and sometimes in direct contrast to it. Back in the beginning of the US, during colonial times and beyond, hemp was a widely grown crop, used for all kinds of industrial purposes. It was such an important crop, that some colonies like Virginia instituted grow laws in the 1600’s to ensure hemp was grown by local farmers, mostly for use by the military.

During this time, hemp had tons of applications including clothing, paper products, sails and rope for ships, and so on. It was also a main component of many medications starting from the 1800’s, when Dr. William O’Shaughnessy brought it into Western medicine; after researching it in India. Why hemp was illegalized is a great question, and depending on where you look, you can find different answers to this question; some that make more sense than others.

Hemp, and cannabis in general, was used industrially, but rarely smoked for recreational purposes. This changed with an influx of Mexicans in the early 1900’s, who did smoke the plant. This happened around the time that industries started popping up that posed a direct competition to hemp. These included the burgeoning synthetics/plastics industry, run by the DuPont family; and the wood paper industry, with William Randolph Hearst at the helm, who owned a huge newspaper chain, and didn’t want to compete with hemp paper. Between the Mexican association, and push from these industries, as well as the pharma industry; cannabis was illegalized.

government hemp

The process of prohibition started with 1937’s Marihuana Tax Act, which made it harder for cultivators by instituting more strict licensing requirements. WWII changed this temporarily, and there was a push for hemp farming due to supply issues into the US. This was all quietly shut down by the government post-war, and the case against marijuana and hemp was built even further. It was marijuana, and smoking it specifically, that was essentially used to illegalize the hemp industry, even though that logically makes no sense at all.

Though there was an understanding about the difference between high-THC and high-CBD plants, this information was ignored by the government upon passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which treated both the same. This law put cannabis of all kinds in Schedule I, saying it was so dangerous that it wasn’t even fit for medicine (which it had been in for 100 years on the Western side, and thousands of years on the Eastern side).

The distinction between the two types of cannabis wasn’t officially re-established until a federal court case – HIA (Hemp Industry Association) vs DEA that ran from 2001-2003. This case, and the re-institution of a definition between hemp and marijuana, allowed the entrance of hemp back into the legal market years later with the 2014 and then 2018 US Farm Bills. The latter of which legalized the cultivation and production of industrial hemp products nationally.

Why do local governments get in the way of new hemp industry?

You’d think that legalizing something and setting up a market is an indication that that market is desired. Sure, visually it looks like hemp production is promoted, but in what looks like a passive-aggressive move, local governments continue to set obstacles to the hemp industry, possibly implying that the legalization is more for show. This sounds odd, for sure, but let’s remember that hemp is growing in understanding as a more environmentally-safe competitor to massive, and massive-waste-causing, industries like the paper industry, the plastics industry, the cement and building industry, and even the oil industry. This on top of it already being a threat to pharma companies.

The thing is, all the industries above have corporations and lobbyists that pay greatly into the pockets of congressional representatives on both state and federal levels, making it more than possible that there is quite a large financial push from within, to keep this industry down. Along with this, its place as a ‘cash cow’ has led to insane taxation seeking to squeeze out every penny, to the detriment of the actual industry.

Recently it was reported that the hemp industry in Oregon is in trouble, and that its not about a lack of interest either. Farmers are repeatedly trying to jump through hoops to create these enterprises, and are continually being thwarted by new, and often overbearing, regulation. Governments usually make it easy when they want an industry. Consider the opioid industry, and the multi-billion-dollar lawsuits, which haven’t slowed anything down. Those medications are still sold, with a recent governmental proposal to lower prescribing guidelines…that’s how much their sale is desired. Even the travesty of overdoses hasn’t limited the industry, and that’s a real danger…so why are governments giving hemp farmers such a hard time? And what exactly are the problems?

hemp vs marijuana

How do local governments get in the way of new hemp industry?

What are the tactics used to slow down what should be a skyrocketing industry? Jackson County is one of the biggest cultivation areas in Oregon, and yet in March of this year, state regulators declared a state of emergency for cannabis, which creates a moratorium on new licensing. In fact, by law, when a state of emergency is called, such applications must be denied. The state of emergency announcement acts retroactively, going back to the 1st of the year, and continues till the last day of the year, effectively meaning no new licenses for growing hemp can be given out or used for an entire year.

Why is this happening? What terrible threat is there that now keeps hemp from being grown, as opioids are still widely prescribed and sold? Apparently, the biggest concern is rooting out all those farmers (reported as 53% last year) whose crops exceed the .3% THC maximum. Though this is advertised by the government as something done by sneaky growers cultivating marijuana under the guise of hemp, simply being over the limit can actually imply no more than, say .4% THC, which hardly makes it what they’re saying.

Considering its already known that its hard to stay precisely within these limits, the more reasonable factor is that farmers are just barely missing the mark, and this is a massive excuse to stop production. I mean, again, opioids…everywhere. Still. Even if it’s real marijuana, though the growers might not be sanctioned, it is a legal state. Should this really stymie the entire industry?

The other issue? Unregistered growers. Translation? Growers for which no tax money is collected by the state. Translation? Black market. Let’s remember, the legal cannabis industry can’t compete with the black market past a point, and this means both state governments and the federal government (federal for hemp only) are constantly trying to find, and get rid of, operators in this market. Whereas it really should be obvious by now that this won’t work, apparently, its not. Realistically, if governments want their legal industries to work, they need to stop with the overtaxing (both excise and to consumers), drop overly strict regulation, and stop treating the industry like a cash cow.

Instead, governments have retained their insane, non-working tax structures, and incredibly restrictive regulations, and then do antics like this where they stop the real industry, so they can have more time to find anyone making an illegal buck. Again, is this really an issue that should stop a legal market?

I don’t remember any large clothing manufactures being forced to stop all function until every knockoff vendor was found and put out of business. Does anyone else? Nope? Once again, no danger to consumers. After all, consumers have lived off this black market for the last 100 years. Calling it dirty and unsafe now, is about the dumbest smear campaign, yet that very logic is used to explain why these growers need to go. Translation? Money lost to taxing bodies. Period.

hemp farm

Into the future

Similar issues of regulation and/or high taxes are seen nearly anywhere that hemp (and marijuana) industries exist in the US. Take Washington, for example, where complaints over taxes still exist ten years after the start of the market. Or California, where the market has suffered so badly, that the state is actually overhauling its tax structure in hopes this can reinvigorate it. Hawaii is yet another example, with cultivators in the state fighting against overly restrictive regulation that restricts access to the local market, and requires a painful three-day notice period for crop transport, testing, and inspection.

There are plenty of other factors that also effect the hemp industry, like overproduction. 2018-2019 was a good time for CBD sales, and this led to inflated expectation for demand, which was subsequently not met. Operators jumped in without thought or research, and somehow no one considered it could be nothing more than a fad. This misconception led to a massive amount of overproduction, lowered prices, and a harder time competing. The inflated expectation came from nearly every publication, which all touted unrealistic numbers, based on no experience. Never a good idea.

Right now, a lot of hemp production is geared toward the CBD and cannabinoids market, which in and of itself shows the lack of understanding among growers of applications outside of drug-related or wellness products. Perhaps as actual industrial uses like plastics and paper start to pop up more, the hemp industry will see further invigoration, and a massive rise in production. After all, THIS is what ‘industrial’ hemp is meant for in the first place. And yet even despite this, I have yet to hear of a government promoting these uses.

Conclusion

Why hemp for plastic and paper (among other uses) hasn’t ballooned out exponentially could be related to many things including existing industries that don’t want competition. Perhaps this is why local governments get in the way of the hemp industry, which was just legalized. It should be understood by now that leveraging too-strict regulation, forcing high taxes, and trying to weed out black markets at the expense of legal ones, will never lead to anything good. And though stories abound about the large taxes brought in for cannabis, in states like Massachusetts, one can only wonder what that number would be, if governments stopped trying to sabotage the industry.

Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate you joining us at Cannadelics.com, a top web offering for current and independent news covering the exciting cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Give the site a read-thru frequently to stay updated, and head over to the The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, to ensure you’re never late on getting a story.





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The Malaysia Contradiction: Legal Medical Cannabis, AND the Death Penalty

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It’s become a commonality for countries to have strange and sometimes contradictory laws when it comes to marijuana. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s interesting, and sometimes it’s just plain weird. Malaysia is a great example. While Malaysia has approved legal medical cannabis, it also still maintains a death penalty for traffickers, setting the limit as low as 200 grams.

Malaysia has some super conflicting drug laws, now allowing legal medical cannabis, but also instituting the death penalty for not-that-big crimes. Perhaps future updates will smooth everything over. We’re on top of all of it, and dedicated to providing the best news possible. Subscribe to THC Weekly Newsletter for the latest stories, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and many more products! Plus, we’ve got great discounts for cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which you can find in our “Best-of” lists!


Malaysia and cannabis

Malaysia might now allow legal medical cannabis, but it still has some ongoing laws that make it one of the harshest countries on this planet for cannabis crimes. According to current laws, having less than five grams of cannabis can net a person up to five years in prison and a fine of up to RM 20,000 (~$4,777). Being caught with up to 20 grams can mean getting 3-9 lashes. If anyone remembers Michael Fay, and his Singapore escapades back in the 90’s, you know that lashing is nothing to sneer at, and does some pretty intense physical damage.

Having 20-50 grams can incur a prison sentence of 2-5 years as well as 3-9 lashes. If the offender is caught with 50-200 grams, the punishment becomes a prison sentence of no less than five years and up to a life term, as well as at least ten lashes, if not more.

Then it gets even stickier. If a person is caught with 200 grams of cannabis or more, it’s automatically considered trafficking, and trafficking comes with a death sentence. According to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, it’s a mandatory death penalty. How mandatory it actually is, is hard to say, but it’s not an unused law, which means at least sometimes, Malaysia is killing people for simply having 200 grams of weed. While this isn’t a tiny amount, consider that in America, 50 kilograms won’t net more than five years, and as much as 1,000 kilograms will incur a person 10 years to life in prison.

Malaysia legal medical cannabis

Cultivating is similarly illegal, and offenders can receive life imprisonment and at least six lashes if not more. Buying and selling are also illegal, with life sentences, or the death penalty if the person has the magic number of 200 grams. CBD is illegal, as well as importing cannabis seeds. Simply having seeds can get a person prison time and a hefty fine.

Death penalty for cannabis

Let’s be honest, the death penalty for drugs is a bit extreme. In fact, for many of us, a death penalty for anything is a bit extreme. In Malaysia, not only is it used, but its often used for crimes that are shockingly low key. Like having 200 grams of cannabis, which is just about seven ounces, and less than half a pound. But according to Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act, this automatically constitutes trafficking, and trafficking is automatically met with a death penalty (although its quite possible that in some cases a less extreme punishment might be given).

While some sources say that this policy ended in 2018 upon global criticism of the practice, it seems this was just talk, and nothing was ever legally updated. It also doesn’t reflect recent cases that have involved doling out the death penalty for cannabis crimes.

Like this case from 2018, when a death sentence was handed down to Muhammad Lukman who was selling cannabis oil to patients in need. On August 30th, 2018, Lukman received a death sentence for being found with “3.1 liters of cannabis oil, 279g of compressed cannabis and 1.4kg of substances containing tetrahydrocannabinol.” He got the sentence despite a clear case of providing medical cannabis, even giving it away for free to patients who could not afford it.

In a fantastic turn of events, on February 17th, 2021, a federal court set aside his conviction on two drug trafficking charges. Instead of death, he was sentenced to five years in prison for each crime. These sentences were set to run concurrently from the time of arrest, meaning when this happened, his jail time was considered served. He did receive 10 lashes, but then went free.

That didn’t do anything for later cases. Like this case, from early 2021 in which a 62-year old Malaysian grandfather was arrested for giving out edibles with hemp seed oil, for medical purposes. The man, Amiruddin Nadarajan Abdullah, dubbed ‘Dr. Ganja’, faces the death penalty for this crime. Amiruddin was “charged with 16 counts of trafficking ganja (cannabis) weighing about 77.48kg under Section 39B (1)(A) of the Dangerous Drugs Act, punishable under Section 39B (2) of the same Act, which carries the death penalty upon conviction.” He was also “charged with 18 counts of planting cannabis under Section 6B (1) (a) which carries life imprisonment and at least six strokes of the rotan upon conviction.”

Malaysia drug punishment

Or this appeal case, in which Muhammad Hafizul Rashid Emmy received the death penalty on September 3rd 2021 for having 299.09 grams of cannabis. This appeal came three years after the initial ruling. Emmy was “charged under Section 38B (1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952″, which is “punishable under Section 39B (2) of the same law, which provides death by hanging or life imprisonment and whipping, upon conviction.”

In a strange turnaround, Malaysia now allows legal medical cannabis

Given that Malaysia sees fit to construct trafficking charges when they don’t even apply, and is cool with hanging offenders, it makes it almost unbelievable that in November, 2021, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin made an announcement to parliament that medical cannabis is now legal. This announcement essentially came out of nowhere in terms of having a general discussion.

According to Khairy, this requires no legal update. In fact, the Health Minister says that Malaysia can have legal medical cannabis because the three governing laws: the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, the Poisons Act of 1952, and the Sale of Drugs Act of 1952, do not ban use of cannabis for medical purposes. Which is almost funny considering there are people on death row for trafficking, who were using/providing cannabis for medical purposes.

Companies can now introduce cannabis products if there is enough evidence that the product is safe and effective. Applications for such products can be submit to the Drug Control Authority to be evaluated and registered under the Controls of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations of 1984. Once these steps are taken, the product can be marketed in Malaysia for medical use.

In terms of importing and sale, all products coming in must be evaluated and registered under the Drug Control Authority, and Malaysians who are seeking treatment must obtain a doctor’s prescription, or get one from a licensed pharmacist.

Malaysia’s contradiction of legal medical cannabis and the death sentence

Will this new change in opinion help with these death sentences? Well, it’s possible that it could in the future, but the lack of any legal change, means all the pre-existing laws concerning cannabis, are still in effect. Death penalty and all. In fact, nothing was said by Khairy in regard to ending convictions, or any kind of update to current drug laws. The entirety of this new direction relies on what the laws already say, not on updating them.

medical cannabis

Since having over a certain amount is tantamount to trafficking in Malaysia, and since the laws that govern trafficking have not been updated, and since they still not only allow the death sentence, but technically require it, this change in opinion seems to have little to do with how cannabis crimes in general will be handled in the country. Perhaps a further update will be made, but as of right now, it hasn’t been.

Nor has a directive been given to lessen punishments, like Seattle‘s psychedelics decriminalization, which really only functions as a request to law enforcement. Nor a reinterpretation of current laws to redefine the legality of current punishments. So while Malaysia seems like its taking a nice step forward (and in some ways it is), it’s like taking a step while still being chained to a pole.

The role of Thailand

Asia isn’t known for its super forward thinking cannabis laws, but that doesn’t mean change can’t happen at all. And Malaysia’s neighbor Thailand, might have been the impetus for Malaysia to make this *change.

Thailand legalized cannabis for medical use in 2018, with a further update to allow patients, medical practitioners, and traditional medicine healers to cultivate the plant. Now, it’s right on the verge of decriminalizing cannabis, by removing it from the official drugs list. Although there is confusion over what exactly this means, or how it will be carried out, a new draft bill has been promised to help sort it out. As part of it, there is even an expectation for at least some measures of recreational use.

One of the motivating factors for Thailand, is to use the cannabis industry to help improve the economy, with the country even considering medical cannabis tourism as an option. And it’s quite possible that this about-face that Malaysia just did, is the beginning move in creating bigger markets, much like Thailand is doing already. Of course, before much more can happen, Malaysia will really have to restructure its general cannabis laws.

Conclusion

The whole situation is certainly a head-scratcher. Malaysia now sees fit to allow legal medical cannabis, but it doesn’t see fit to stop sentencing death for what amounts to minor cannabis crimes. So while I hope this is just the first step of many in this direction, it certainly creates quite the conundrum right now that the plant is seen as safe enough for medical use, but dangerous enough to incur death for having 200 grams or more.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.





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SPD Win Election in Germany, Is Recreational Cannabis Next?

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Germany is going through changes. Not only did the country just elect new government officials yesterday in a national election, but longstanding Chancellor Angela Merkel already stated she’s stepping down. Possibly due to this, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union lost to the Social Democrats in the election, signaling a political change in Germany, which could lead to a recreational cannabis legalization.

If the elections in Germany result in a cannabis legalization, there will be another massive market opening up. More legalizations mean more and better products for users, and this is great for everyone. Products like delta-8 THC were never heard of before the recent cannabis boom, but this alternate to delta-9, which causes way less anxiety and couch locking, is now available thanks to the expansion of the market. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THCVTHCPdelta10, HHCTHC-O and tons of other products, so check ’em out, and see how many options are out there.

Germany and cannabis

As with nearly every European country (with the strange exception of Georgia), recreational cannabis is illegal in Germany. Having said that, Georgia did legalize the recreational use of cannabis, but without legalizing cultivation, sale, or a regulated market, meaning there is no actual industry. If Germany were to pass a recreational legalization bill, it would still be the first European country to set up a regulated market, and the first EU country to do either a legalization, or a regulated market. But, we’re not there just yet.

In Germany, cannabis is recreationally illegal at the moment, and is regulated through the German Federal Narcotics Act. Simple possession can incur up to five years in prison. Weirdly enough, there’s no law against actual use, so those caught using are more likely to be put in a program than face a more serious punishment. This is not always the case past a first offence, however, and is also dependent on the person being caught with a ‘small quantity’ only.

How much is a ‘small quantity’? The term isn’t defined specifically, and varies throughout different parts of Germany. It can be anywhere from 6-15 grams depending on location, although, in Germany, it’s not just about the amount in weight, but the amount of THC within, so the potency can help determine the amount.

cannabis reform Germany

As there is no regulated market, sale and supply crimes are illegal, and offenders can incur up to five years for more basic crimes, and up to 15 years depending on extenuating circumstances. Cultivation crimes are also illegal and are punished with the same jail time as sale and supply crimes.

Medical cannabis has been legal in some capacity since 1998, with a major expansion in 2017 to cover more illnesses, start domestic production, and allow for more imports and exports.

Germany has the largest cannabis market in Europe at the moment. In 2019, it was 2nd in the world for cannabis oil imports, and 4th in the world for cannabis oil exports. Prohibition Partners estimates that as of March 2020, Germany had approximately 128,000 patients that receive medical cannabis per year, though BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, was not able to give more specific information.

In Q4 of 2020, Germany imported 3,264 kilograms of cannabis, for a total of 9,249 kilograms for 2020. The import market has seen a 100% year over year increase between 2018-2020. Germany is just starting its domestic supply market, which is expected to filter another 2,600 kilograms into the market.

National elections

The new government which is being put together from the election, is the key to Germany and a cannabis legalization. On September 26th, 2021, Germany held National Bundestag elections to institute a new government. The announcement of current-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stepping down means that after many years, Germany is about to introduce new leadership.

Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005, making for a 16-year reign. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), which itself is a partnership between the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, has led a coalition government for just as long. Perhaps Merkel stepped down because she felt tides turning. Or perhaps the election outcome was a result of the knowledge of her impending departure. Either way, after many years of the same thing, Germany voted for something new.

elections 2021

The Social Democrats and the Union were a part of the same government coalition prior to the election. Now that they are no longer part of the same coalition government, they are not necessarily voting partners anymore. The two parties have differing beliefs on many topics, like cannabis, and how it should be handled. Whereas the Union is for keeping cannabis illegal, the Social Democrats are for legalization, along with other parties like the Greens. Of the three top parties in the election in Germany, two are pro-legalization for cannabis, the Social Democrats, and the Greens. THe 4th is the Free Democratic Party, and it supports legalization as well.

How did things just change?

The Social Democrats (SPD) and the Union have been voting partners in the past, which is the reason a legalization bill didn’t pass last year, despite there technically being enough support to pass it. In the past, the Union was the biggest party, beating out the SPDs. This time around, the outcome flipped.

In this election, the Social Democrats (center-left) narrowly beat out the Union (center-right), 25.9% to 24.1%. The Social Democrats won 206 parliamentary seats, the Union got 196, The Greens (left) took 118, the Free Democratic Party (FDP, liberal) won 92, Alternative for Germany (AfD, right-wing populist) got 83, the Left (democratic-socialist) got 39, and South Schleswig Voter’s Association (SSW, social-liberals) got 1. Since there is no majority here, a coalition government must be formed.

Since 2005, the Christian Democrats have formed coalitions with different parties. In 2005 it was a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, in 2009 with the Free Democratic Party, in 2013 and 2017, it formed grand coalitions with the Social Democrats again. Some see it as stabilizing to have a government of the two top parties, some see it as a threat to have such a homogenous government. It is quite possible that the two parties will partner once again, but there is also the chance that other things could happen. It’s expected this could be a long and difficult process given how close the votes were.

Its’s also quite possible that for the first time in a while, the Union could be shut out. If a coalition government is formed between the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free democratic Party, this would mean a very different government than the past eight years. In a situation like this, all parties are pro-cannabis. Whether it would actually happen or not though, is hard to say.

However, even if this full coalition doesn’t happen, the Social Democrats have apparently already signaled that they would like to partner with the Greens. Even two strong pro-cannabis-reform parties together could do it. If those two parties partner up, cannabis legislation can be expected. Because of the strong showing for the Free Democrats, this goes for them as well, making several different ways in which this election can lead Germany into passing recreational cannabis legislation.

Election Germany cannabis

What happened last time?

A cannabis legalization bill was put forward last year that would have instituted a regulated adult-use market. On October 29th of the year, it was rejected in parliament, and this was mainly due to the coalition between the Union and the Social Democrats. Though the Social Democrats are for legalization, the Union is heavily against. Since the two parties voted together, the Social Democrats voted against legalization. If they are no longer paired in the future, a future vote could turn out very differently.

At the time the bill died, the Social Democrats held 152 seats, the Union held 264, and the Greens held 67. Looking at the most recent election, and things have certainly shifted in Germany, opening the door wider for topics like cannabis reform. Given that the Union had a 41.5% majority in 2013, and is down to around 24% now, it shows a change in thoughts and opinions. It’s not shocking the bill died last year, as the government wasn’t constructed to allow it to pass.

Since the time the Union was so strong in 2013, public sentiment has gone in a different direction concerning marijuana. The German Hemp Association conducts polls yearly on legalization. In 2014, when it started, the percentage for pro-legalization was 30%, and went up to 46% within only a few years. The organization stopped polling for opinions on decriminalization in 2018, when the percentage reached 59%.

Conclusion

Germany is the biggest country in the EU, with the strongest economy. Its already a dominating factor in the international medical cannabis industry. A legalization there could create a large, and strong cannabis market. As the election results are still rather raw, its impossible to know how things will pan out. Politics involve many things we don’t see as private citizens, so to a certain degree we’ll have to be patient, and allow things some time to work themselves out. In the coming months, there should be a lot of talk coming out on this, and the conversation about legalization should get even stronger.

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