The controversial legalization of cannabis in Germany is finally coming before the Federal Council today. The law passed by the Bundestag does not require approval there, but the state chamber could send it to the joint mediation committee with parliament and thus slow it down for the time being.

According to the traffic light coalition’s plans, possession and cultivation of the drug will be permitted for adults to consume themselves on April 1st, with numerous requirements. On July 1st, non-commercial associations should also be able to start collective cultivation.

Lawsuit threatens

CDU leader Friedrich Merz reiterated the Union’s resistance before the crucial meeting of the Federal Council. “I hope that the states call the mediation committee and that the cannabis law stays there and never comes out again,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “If the Federal Council instead gives the green light for legalization against the will of the Union, it would be a fatally wrong decision.” Merz warned of massive impacts on the health of young people in particular. In addition, thousands of completed criminal proceedings would have to be reopened.

The Bavarian state government made a similar statement. “The cannabis law must absolutely be stopped completely,” said Prime Minister Markus Söder to the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Friday). Bavaria supports the appeal to the mediation committee. “We resolutely oppose the legalization of drugs,” emphasized the CSU leader. Cannabis poses serious health risks. In addition, according to experts, crime is increasing and road traffic is becoming more dangerous.

The Union even wants to overturn the legalization of cannabis if it takes over government in 2025. “After taking over government, the Union would immediately reverse the law,” CDU leader Friedrich Merz told the newspapers of the Funke media group. A constitutional complaint against it “probably has little chance of success”.

Police control questionable

Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) reiterated the Union Interior Minister’s threat to sue. You have to wait and see whether the mediation committee will be called and what will come out of it; there is no point in suing beforehand, Herrmann told the German Press Agency in Munich. But if the United Nations Drug Control Council has already declared that German law violates international treaties, then this must definitely be investigated. However, Herrmann admitted that it was not an easy question as to how the whole thing could ultimately be brought to court.

Herrmann also believes that the law cannot be implemented in practice. “What can actually be checked and where,” asked the CSU politician. As examples, he cited guidelines on how many plants someone can have in their living room at home, or the distance regulations from schools and kindergartens when consuming. “Should the police measure the distance now?” asked Herrmann. This is all quixotic and impractical.

It was initially uncertain whether there would be a majority of votes in the Federal Council to call the Mediation Committee. The background is also that state governments usually abstain if they do not agree on the content. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had already approached the states and taken up concerns. In a statement recorded in the Federal Council, the government pledged, among other things, more support for prevention and education. There will also be some subsequent changes to the law, for example to provide more flexible implementation rules.

Only adults are allowed to consume

In the statement, the federal government reiterates that a planned amnesty for cases that are supposed to be legal in the future is necessary for reasons of justice. Concerns had been raised from the federal states that the judiciary would be overloaded due to case reviews.

According to the law passed by the Bundestag in February, the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal consumption should become legal for adults aged 18 and over. Three live cannabis plants should be allowed in your own apartment and up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal consumption. Smoking weed in public spaces should be banned in schools, sports facilities and within sight of them – specifically within 100 meters of the entrance as the crow flies.

Non-commercial “cultivation associations” for adults should also be permitted, in which up to 500 members residing in the country grow cannabis together and sell it to each other for their own consumption – a maximum of 50 grams per member per month. No later than 18 months after the law comes into force, an initial assessment should be presented on, among other things, how it affects the protection of children and young people.