Cannabis law: countries want to delay its entry into force 2024-03-02 14:01:30

MSeveral federal states want to prevent cannabis legalization from coming into effect on April 1st and postpone it by six months. The North Rhine-Westphalia State Justice Minister Benjamin Lambach (Greens) told the digital media company Table.Media that the time of five weeks between the adoption and entry into force of the law was “not nearly” enough “for the public prosecutors and courts in North Rhine-Westphalia to comply with the regulations be able to implement retroactive remission of punishment in a timely manner.

In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, “in tens of thousands of cases it has to be examined whether penalties imposed should be remitted in whole or in part,” explained Limbach. He pointed out this problem early on, but Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) did not hear of it.

Lower Saxony’s Justice Minister Kathrin Wahlmann (SPD) was also annoyed because the judiciary was overwhelmed by the planned amnesty in around 16,000 cases. “There will inevitably be unlawful conditions and compensation obligations all over the country,” Wahlmann told Table.Media.

Fear of massive strain on the judiciary

It is to be feared that there will be a massive burden on the judiciary and that thousands of cases will have to be processed. The reason is the amnesty regulation previously planned by the traffic light government, which should subsequently lead to impunity even in cases that have been legally concluded. If it came into force on April 1, 2024, many error-free judgments of the first instance would be overturned through legal action.

According to the report, a majority in the Federal Council, which will deal with the draft law at its next meeting on March 22nd, is in favor of appointing a mediation committee. In the coming days, the Federal Council committees will deal with the law, which is classified as an objection law.

The FDP health expert Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus promoted the planned new regulations. “The law paves the way for a modern drug policy that focuses on consumer protection and contains important regulations to protect children and young people,” she explained in Berlin. The previous drug policy, however, “has failed,” she added.

“The federal states should also face this reality and take a new path together with us,” explained Aschenberg-Dugnus, referring to the discussions in the Federal Council. It is about “creating a legal offer for adults for safe consumption without encouraging entry”.

The law on the partial legalization of cannabis for personal consumption was passed by the Bundestag on Friday 23rd with the majority of the traffic light coalition. The Union and the AfD in particular opposed this. According to the law, consumption and possession of cannabis of up to 25 grams should be permitted in the future, but only for adults. Up to 50 grams and three plants are permitted for home cultivation, provided the drugs are protected from access by minors.

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