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The city voted to become a cannabis model region despite no such mechanism existing in German law

On Wednesday, the local council in the German city of Mainz voted to become a cannabis model region – one of the first to do so in Germany. However, this is a largely symbolic and pre-emptive vote as there is no legal provision for allowing this in German law.

At the same time, in mid-April, the Bundestag voted to legalise marijuana in a minimal form. In the legislative framework, the federal government introduced a two-tiered system. One would allow the creation of private grower and user clubs and the other would see the limited introduction of marijuana for commercial and recreational use in a limited number of cities in the country.

Mainz wants to be the first in line

So-called cannabis private clubs would function like non-profit communities that can trade and grow the plant among their members. They would have several restrictions though, like only having 500 members at most, with monthly limits cannabis allowance of 50 grams.

The second tier is the commercial sale of marijuana in specialised ‘coffee’ shops. Here, however, the Bundestag legislation is quite timid. According to authorities, this system would be available only in some cities. The city of Mainz wants to be one of them, which is why local authorities have voted on the provision.

Yet, the Bundestag has yet to introduce a mechanism for the legal sale of marijuana, so it remains to be seen what shape cannabis coffee shops would take. Nevertheless, local authorities in Mainz want to be the first in line.

Head of Social Affairs Eckart Lensch was quoted by the SWR explaining that the idea is to introduce more youth protection in the field, however, the final effects remain to be evaluated.

Moreover, talking about the legislation Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, explained that this was only a pilot project, with clear goals of reducing youth drug use and dealing a blow to the black market sale of drugs. He also pointed out that this limited introduction of cannabis was not set in stone and if those goals are failed, the government may decide to roll back.