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German legalization gets underway with first 4/20

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The global cannabis liberation movement took several steps forward this 4/20 with German cannabis legalization. But the specifics look like baby steps up close. 

German smokers and tourists can partake of a more legal relaxed atmosphere that began April 1 countrywide. The country’s leaders have all but stopped adjudicating people for benign cannabis use or possession. But don’t expect stores, or smoky clubs any time soon. Instead, get ready to get cannabis covered by your insurance.

Read along for some takeaways from the first days of German legalization—fresh from the International Cannabis Business Conference.

Watch an Instagram Reel from ICBC Germany

1) German legalization isn’t as liberal as legalization in the States.

“Certainly, there’s excitement about German ‘legalization.’ I put it in air quotes, because many don’t believe it’s full legalization because there is no market set up for consumers to purchase cannabis,” said Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita, who keynoted the first day of the event April 16.

Locals describe “decrimin plus.” You can grow 3 plants at home and social clubs will start, but they’ll be pretty tame at first—no smoking together.

Dream on, Germany

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2) Medical cannabis just won, big-time.

In the two weeks since legalization, the volume of requests for cannabis prescriptions has increased significantly. As stigma falls, patients come out of hiding for their safe and effective botanical drug.

“Medical will be big in Germany,” said Miyashita. “What Germany has going is that ‘medical’ truly means it’s part of the healthcare system, with reimbursement from insurance and distribution through the pharmacies. Doctors will be able to prescribe this broadly.”

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Patients report the compounds in cannabis can help with a variety of conditions.

3) The consumer knowledge gap is real.

Plenty of older folks still think weed is dangerous. Germany is going to be at Day One for questions like ‘What is THC?’, when do edibles kick in?, what’s one ‘dose’ of weed?, ‘what can I use this for?’, and the differences between eating versus vaping.

“I would reiterate the continuous need for educating consumers!” said Miyashita.

4) Germany is the domino

As the economic powerhouse of Europe, German decriminalization will trigger changes in neighboring states and countries. Germany is the heavyweight of the European Union—which has similarities to the United States’ federal government. 

Like New Yorkers going to New Jersey (but legal!), the EU allows frictionless movement between member states, and with it, cultural change. The Czech Republic, for example, has reforms planned.

5) Expect many more details to emerge from the haze

More regulations will come down this summer, promising local restrictions regulations for social growing clubs and flavors of decriminalization. Berlin could see a cannabis golden age. The south of Germany might move slower.

Bottom line: Germany just became a safe spot for pot in Europe

Time to visit their beer fests, and reggae festivals, and sightsee Germany’s multi-thousand-year history—it’s safe for stoners to touchdown in Deutschland. Link up with your peers, and keep the flame of cannabis culture lit. 





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Andrew Cooper

Germany Deflates GOP’s Anti Marijuana Efforts

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The GOP’s argument against marijuana took a body blow from Germany

Running against the grain of public sentiment, some members of the GOP are fighting against cannabis rescheduling and trying to be clever.  The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is still having internal discussions about whether to reschedule cannabis from a schedule I to schedule III-controlled substance with some in the GOP wishing to stop the process.  But along comes Germany and they are deflating their efforts.

Germany has the biggest economy in the EU and are a leader in the United Nations and NATO.  A practical country, they just legalized marijuana. Officials shared legalization would undermine criminal trade in the drug, guard against harmful impurities, and free police to pursue more serious crimes alongside providing medical benefits.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

Republican Senators Jim Risch (R-), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Pete Ricketts (R-NB) are unhappy with the the administration’s plan to reschedule marijuana. To stop or slow the process, these senators question if it violate US treaty obligations. Data shows 89% of citizens believe it should be legal in some form, so they are definitely swimming against the flow of public opinion. Additionally, science, data and the healthcare community have proven it has clear medical benefits.

Pete Ricketts (R-NB)

The United Nations’s (UN) drug control body reaffirmed legalizing marijuana for non-medical or non-scientific purposes a violation of international treaties.  But enforcement is non-existent.  While Uruguay was technical the first, Canada was the first to fully implement it and the UN has done nothing.  Since then Georgia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand have made the move without any issues.

The Senators move has some support in the house, but Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has made it clear he wants progress on cannabis legalization.  Germany’s move severely undercuts the GOPs efforts.

Andrew Cooper, partner at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman LLP, one of the top cannabis law firms believes “Consequently, if anything, the fact that Germany legalized adult-use cannabis despite all the hurdles (including not only the Single Convention, but the Schengen Convention of 1985, the EU Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 2004, and the Narcotic Drug Act (BtMG), when the U.S. only really needs to address (and likely ignore) the Single Convention, may provide some impetus to the DEA to follow suit”.

RELATED: Americans Want It, Some Politicians Prefer a Nanny State

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner of Zuber Lawler whose west coast firm has a robust cannabis division states “It’s exciting to see Germany making history by legalizing cannabis at the recreational level as the largest economy in the European Union. I hope that Germany’s leadership on this front will inspire other countries throughout the world to do the same, including the United States.



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Andrew Cooper

Will Germany’s Legalizing Marijuana Push The DEA

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Yet another major country has legalized marijuana – hopefully the DEA is paying attention.  Here are some expert’s take on where it stands.

Another major country made the commitment, but will Germany’s legalizing marijuana push the DEA to act? Germany joined Malta and Luxembourg in Europe. Officials shared  legalization would undermine criminal trade in the drug, guard against harmful impurities, and free police to pursue more serious crimes.  In doing so, they have ignored the UN ban and joins other countries including Canada, Uruguay, and South Africa.

RELATED: Americans Are Choosing Marijuana Over Alcohol

In the United States, the cannabis is still awaiting on decision from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regarding rescheduling.  After a very slow start to his commitment, President Biden is moving now on his campaign promise and give younger voters another reason to support him.  But according to Pew Research Center, an overwhelming 88% of U.S. adults say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (30%). Only one-in-ten (10%) say marijuana use should not be legal. It is a popular decision and is widely used in blue and red states and in legal and illicit states. Key experts have weighed in on whether Germany’s move will push for the DEA to act soon.

“We do not see Germany’s progress having much impact on the DEA.  Our thesis is we are witnessing a coordinated democratic effort to advance cannabis reform ahead of the election to mobilize and sway younger voters. We continue to believe it is unlikely that the head of the DEA (a Biden appointee) will go against the HHS recommendation in an election year. So, we remain optimistic that we’ll land on Schedule III, but do not see Germany as a major driver of US reform.” says Jesse Redmond, Managing Partner, Water Tower Research.

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Andrew Cooper, partner at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman LLP, one of the top cannabis law firms believes “Consequently, if anything, the fact that Germany legalized adult-use cannabis despite all the hurdles (including not only the Single Convention, but the Schengen Convention of 1985, the EU Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 2004, and the Narcotic Drug Act (BtMG), when the U.S. only really needs to address (and likely ignore) the Single Convention, may provide some impetus to the DEA to follow suit”.

RELATED: Maine Is Getting It Right About Legal Weed While California And Others Struggle

Tom Zuber, Managing Partner of Zuber Lawler whose west coast firm has a robust cannabis division states “It’s exciting to see Germany making history by legalizing cannabis at the recreational level as the largest economy in the European Union. I hope that Germany’s leadership on this front will inspire other countries throughout the world to do the same, including the United States.

Time will tell if will Germany’s legalizing marijuana push the DEA to act.



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Germany just legalized cannabis. Mostly. Here’s what you need to know

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