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FRANKFURT: The German government announced on Wednesday (April 12) that it had scrapped plans to allow the widespread sale of cannabis in licensed stores for the time being, following EU concerns.

In October, Berlin announced proposals to introduce some of Europe’s most liberal cannabis laws.

But on Wednesday, the coalition announced a watered down two-phase plan that would still allow adults to own small amounts of cannabis, but not allow it to be sold in stores nationwide.

While the details may have changed, the “original objectives” remained the same, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at a press conference, citing “safer consumption, tackling the black market and protecting the youth”. .

The first phase of the new plan will allow the establishment of “cannabis clubs”. It is a non-profit organization of up to 500 members and is permitted to grow drugs for personal use.

Members can own up to 25 grams (0.9 ounces) of cannabis and grow up to three plants each.

Minors will continue to be prohibited from taking drugs.

A bill related to cannabis clubs should be ready later this month before being submitted to the Cabinet and lawmakers for approval.

“Consumption will be legalized again this year,” Agriculture Minister Sem Ozdemir said at a press conference.

The second phase will test the production and sale of cannabis in government-licensed specialty stores for five years in areas that have not yet been selected.

Wide distribution of the drug across the country, as envisioned in the original plan, was not possible under European law.

The pilot project could serve as a model and lead to legal changes at European level, said Lauterbach, adding that he has had encouraging discussions with other countries on the matter.

Cannabis legalization was one of the main policies agreed upon by Germany’s coalition partners, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the liberal FDP, when they came to power in late 2021.

“Wrong track”

Wednesday’s announcement drew sharp criticism from the opposition.

The government is “fundamentally going in the wrong direction,” tweeted Markus Soeder, leader of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party to the largest opposition CDU.

“Legalizing drugs is simply the wrong way to go. Karl Lauterbach, as Minister of Health, is seriously proposing the establishment of a drug club. This will create new problems instead of solving them. “

The GdP police union also said it doesn’t think the plan will be very effective in curbing the illegal cannabis trade. Germany revamps cannabis plan after opposition

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