Germany’s Legalisation Process Concerning Cannabis And Industrial Hemp  


On 25th of Oct 2022 the Cabinet of the Health Ministry of Germany released a federal government’s key points paper containing the basic framework for the legalisation of the Cannabis for adult use market. The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and German association Nutzhanf Netzwerk e. V. (NHN) welcome and support the document that will, from one side, pave the way for positive developments to be made in Germany for this new market and on the other side will certainly normalise and enhance the acceptance of the industrial hemp plant. 

The legalisation of the market for Adults‘ Cannabis requires first and foremost an alignment with EU and International treaties. With this document Germany is opening a discussion with EU authorities to investigate the compliance of the German decision with respect to the International and European laws. According to the German Federal Government, the plan to legalise cannabis in Germany is in line with the purpose and legal requirements of the conventions, as the focus of the reform is the protection of health and young people, and not the promotion of cannabis use. Now it is up to the European Commission to provide comments on the key points.

The most relevant point for the industrial hemp sector is the interpretation made by the Ministry on THC. In the document it is clearly stated that “Cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will no longer be legally classified as narcotics within the meaning of the Narcotics Act” ending the Damocles sword hanging over the industrial hemp sector since the prohibition stared in the 30’. This interpretation will immediately nullify all court cases going on in Germany on the ban of industrial hemp because wrongly considered a narcotic. 

Aaron Kamperschroer, Managing director of Nutzhanf-Netzwerk e. V. (industrial hemp network, Germany): “The development in Germany on Cannabis are an opportunity for the industrial hemp sector and will most probably generates a cascade effect on other members States. 

In this respect, the presentation of the key points paper by Health Minister Lauterbach could even lead to a historic paradigm shift in dealing with cannabis and industrial hemp for Germany and all of Europe.”  

The presentation of the key points paper by Health Minister Lauterbach can lead to a historical paradigm shift regarding the legal handling of cannabis for Germany and the whole of Europe.”  

With this document the German government made clear that cannabis legalisation is a priority for the current government and it will be implemented against all odds.

EIHA and NHN welcome this determination and will support the reform of cannabis and industrial hemp policy at European and German level. Similar reforms are already being prepared in other EU member states.  Both associations encourage the German government to consider a threshold of industrial hemp up to 1% of THC and to closely coordinate the adoption of the legal framework with its European partners. EIHA also recalls the necessity of having a harmonised approach on industrial hemp and cannabis in Europe.

Daniel Kruse, entrepreneur of the hemp industry since 1995 and President of EIHA elaborates further: “In 1993, the rediscovery of the useful plant hemp started in Germany and also in other European countries. The first 25 years were characterised by a gradual, sustainable development of an industry with many economic outputs and with boundless perspectives.

Since 2019, triggered by the hype around CBD, our sector has been faced with unpredictable challenges like no other. Questionable Novel Food decisions, out of the air allegations regarding narcotics and arbitrary crackdowns on THC and CBD in food have caused huge economic damages, retarding growth to the point of destroyed companies and dismantled jobs. The witch-hunt on hemp could now finally come to an end. The intended amendment of the Narcotics Act (BtMG) in Germany will give a further boost to the hemp industry and agriculture and help to end the decades-long stigmatisation of hemp.” 

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