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European Round-Up: Germany’s Decriminalisation Delay ‘Incomprehensible’, Maltese Doctor Charged With Drug Trafficking, $100m UK Cannabis Investment et al…

DESPITE being one of the key policies of the ‘Traffic-Light’ German Government do not expect cannabis legalisation to be enacted quickly, says the Minister responsible for its implementation.

In an interview with Legal Tribune Online Federal Government Commissioner for Addiction and Drugs, Burkhard Blienert was quizzed on why there had been no progress on reform, despite his contention that it was ‘central’ to the Government’s agenda.

He responded by saying the Russian invasion of Ukraine and high levels of Covid are ‘two acute crisis situations that have political priority’.  

However he added: “The traffic light parties have expressly opted for the regulated delivery to adults. And with good reason: simply because a controlled levy is overdue to protect people from harm to health and unnecessary law enforcement. However, it was clear that such a paradigm shift would not happen overnight.”

Thousands Of Criminal Proceedings

With prosecution of private individuals and hundreds of business continuing, as reported recently by BusinessCann, he refused to be drawn on whether there would be interim decriminalisation measures despite pressure from some of the country’s judges.

He said: “What we want is a well-founded law that also answers these questions and not a quick fix. We will take this problem into account.”

In an interview with Krautinvest German cannabis Lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann described this position as incomprehensible

He said: “There are fears that early decriminalisation could jeopardise the entire legalization project. This overall very cautious tactic seems incomprehensible, since both projects are backed by a solid government majority in the Bundestag. 

“According to Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, however, there will not be a draft before the beginning of 2023, so that we have to expect hundreds of thousands of further criminal proceedings well into 2023. However, this consequence is apparently accepted.”  

Appalling And Worrying

Maltese doctor Andrew Agius has been charged with drug trafficking for importing cannabis and selling it to his patients to relieve back pain.

Mr Agius, 43, was arrested on March 10 with his lawyers arguing the product contains a small amount of THC, and is not a prohibited drug.

The Times of Malta reports how the arrest has thrown into confusion Malta’s position on cannabis following the passing of the ‘Responsible Use of Cannabis Bill’, in December last year

Under the new legislation the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis is completely decriminalised for adults aged 18 and over. It also allows the cultivation of up to four plants at home for personal use.

ReLeaf Malta, a pro-legalisation NGO, said that Dr Agius’ arrest was an ‘appalling and worrying’ development.

“It clearly reflects a disjointed approach between what the law aims to achieve and realities on the ground,” said Andrew Bonello, the head of ReLeaf Malta.

Flora Growth’s German Move

But meetings between the chairperson of the Authority on the Responsible Use of Cannabis and various stakeholders, including foreign experts on drug policy and cannabis regulation are taking place, a fact that Mr Bonello described as ‘very encouraging’

“One hopes these discussions will translate into a fair and inclusive regulatory framework,” he said.

Dutch firm Juicy Fields says it has ambition plans to cultivate cannabis across Europe within a few years, reports MMJ Daily.

Following the announcement of its partnership with Danish firm Cannabis International Aps last year Juicy Fields’ CEO Alan Glanse, says ‘it is ‘planning to construct two to three greenhouses in each European country over the course of the next few years’.

In the UK Jazz Pharmaceuticals says its its subsidiary, GW Pharmaceuticals is starting work on of construction of its new, state-of-the-art cannabis manufacturing facility at Kent Science Park (KSP) in Sittingbourne.

The 60,000 sq ft  facility represents an investment of £75m. It will create over 100 highly skilled new jobs and is due to open in 2024.

US-domiciled, multi-pronged, cannabIs firm Flora Growth says its JustCBD brand has now has partnered with German company Greenyard to open brick-and-mortar stores throughout Germany and the Czech Republic. 

In addition to the opening of brick-and-mortar stores, JustCBD products will be distributed by Greenyard throughout Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia.

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