NRW rejects German government's plans for regional cannabis legalisation

NRW rejects German government's plans for regional cannabis legalisation

State-level government in North Rhine-Westphalia is questioning the German federal government’s plans to trial marijuana legalisation in certain regions across the country, but local governments in Cologne, Munster and Bonn are saying they still want to take part.

NRW government rejects regional weed legalisation plans

State government in North Rhine-Westphalia has positioned itself against the federal government’s plans to trial cannabis legalisation in certain regions across Germany.

Speaking to the Rheinische Post, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health in Düsseldorf said that the northern German state was in opposition to the trial regions because of “the dangers of cannabis-related brain injuries in young people up to the age of 25”. 

The stance from Düsseldorf comes just over a month after German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir announced that the federal government were accelerating their plans and would legalise weed in 2023.

According to the newest legalisation draft law, consumption and sales of cannabis will be strictly regulated to Anbauvereinigungen (cultivation associations), dubbed as “Cannabis Social Clubs”. The original plan, which would have seen cannabis sales legalised in pharmacies and other speciality shops, is still off the cards for now, but Lauterbach and Özdemir have said that this will be trialled in a number of regions and introduced if the trials are deemed successful.

Cologne and Munster still interested in regional weed legalisation

Despite criticism at state level, some German cities are making it known to the federal government that they are still open to taking part in the regional legalisation trials.

Within North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne and Munster have said they would still like to be part of the regional trials. Speaking to Rheinische Post, a representative from the local government in Bonn also said that the city would still like to be involved.

It is still unclear as to whether federal states will be able to opt out of taking part in the regional trials. And in Düsseldorf, much of the hesitation comes from the fact that the federal government is yet to provide a solid plan for how the trials will be legally compatible with EU-wide law.

How does Germany plan to regulate marijuana use among young people?

Though NRW’s Health Ministry representatives have expressed concern about how legalisation will impact cannabis consumption for the under-25s, Lauterbach and Özdemir’s draft law has already outlined how the country plans to prohibit the sale and regulate the consumption of cannabis to children and younger people.

Cannabis clubs will only be allowed to sell weed to people who are members of the club and will be restricted from operating within the proximity of Kitas and schools.

Members will have to be at least 18 years old and those between the ages of 18 and 21 will only be able to purchase cannabis that has a maximum THC content of 10 percent and will be limited to purchasing a maximum of 30 grams per month. Members over 21 years old will be able to purchase a maximum of 50 grams per month, which will be sold in “neutral packaging or unpackaged” so as to avoid “consumption incentives”.

According to the dpa, each club will also be required to write up a health and youth protection plan, as well as appoint a trained addiction prevention officer.

Thumb image credit: Kemedo /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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