The discussion about so-called cannabis social clubs in Germany is generating a lot of interest, but there is also a lot of uncertainty surrounding the topic. The German Hemp Association currently even advises against founding cannabis social clubs.
For people who smoke cannabis, there may be a lot at stake, because currently, it is illegal to possess or sell cannabis. Fines, imprisonment, criminality – all this is still attached to cannabis.
That is set to change soon. However, no decision has been made yet on the new laws to legalize cannabis. In short, it’s still taking time.
Read more about the German Hemp Association and find the most important cannabis news of the day with the Hemp.im mobile app.
The long road to cannabis legalization
In the case of Georg Wurth, the founder and managing director of the German Hemp Association, one might assume that he is impatient. He is not: “I expect that around the turn of the year, there will be movement in the matter. We also want to discuss the whole thing intensively, the draft law is still to be developed further. Particularly with regard to exceeding the possession limits, there is still work to be done.”
Wurth has been campaigning for the legalization of cannabis for 27 years, and full-time for 21 years. The change in the law won’t happen overnight: “Sure, we’re waiting for it, but it won’t take a few weeks,” he said.
Europe’s progressive forefront
Wurth believes the law is a step in the right direction: “It’s a huge step forward. All of a sudden, we would be at the progressive forefront in Europe. Because right now we’re still totally repressive, especially when it comes to police prosecution.”
Matthias Redlich of the Magdeburg Hemp Association agrees: “We are closer to legalization than ever before, I’m looking forward to that,” he says. Redlich is in the middle of founding a so-called Cannabis Social Club (CSC), a cultivation association.
Cannabis social clubs and non-commercial cultivation associations are much discussed in the media and among consumers. Likewise, there are some open questions about the topic: “Where can one sign up? How can a club be founded? Does a club also have to be a registered association?” – all these questions arrive at the German Hemp Association and its local groups, among others.
Discussion about Cannabis Social Clubs
According to the current draft law, the clubs may have a maximum of 500 members who have reached the age of 18 and have their residence or habitual abode in Germany.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is pushing for numerous restrictions on legalization and CSCs. For example, the states should be able to limit the number of clubs to one CSC per 6,000 inhabitants per city or district. In addition, cultivation clubs must include a minimum membership requirement of two months in their bylaws and must maintain a minimum distance of 200 meters from schools and other children and youth facilities, as well as playgrounds.
As far as cultivation clubs are concerned, Matthias Redlich, who has already founded a CSC association and is waiting for his association number, is skeptical: “As a CSC, we are not allowed to take in any money; everything is supposed to be done through a membership fee. But here, the purchase quantities are different. Also, it is not considered that the cultivation needs everything: electricity, water, IT. We want to create jobs, not just volunteer.”
Social Space and consumer culture
There should also be no social space or consumption space if Lauterbach has his way. Consumption on site, i.e. in clubs in a cozy atmosphere, is not considered a good idea by the Minister of Health.
“We recommend waiting and seeing. It will not be a question of who is the first to open a club in the city,” said Georg Wurth, German Hemp Association
Wurth said, “Where is the motivation supposed to come from among the volunteers if it’s not also about having fun together? With rules like that, I don’t see how it’s going to work to run cannabis social clubs.” Redlich has a similar view: “I want our club members to feel comfortable and not just pick up their cannabis from me,” said the 36-year-old.
“We recommend waiting for now. It’s not going to be about who opens a club first in the city. So we’re not advising anyone to open a CSC at the moment,” Wurth says. There are too many uncertainties, he says. Nevertheless: “For many, it will be an incredibly liberating moment as soon as the law is passed,” Wurth summed up.
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First published in mdr, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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