Stoner Symphony

German Government Settles Disputes Over CanG Bill, Malta’s First CHRA Starts Selling Adult-Use Cannabis, & Israel Launches Investigation Into Canadian Imports

Germany’s CanG bill looks to be back on track 

Germany’s landmark CanG bill is now expected to pass through the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) this month, putting it back on track to come into effect by April 1.

Last month Business of Cannabis reported that growing fractures within the Social Democrat Party (SPD), the largest member of the country’s traffic light coalition, threatened to derail the already delayed cannabis project.

While the SPD announced in late November 2023 that the coalition had now ‘agreed on the cannabis law’, and that the second and final readings were set to take place in ‘mid-December’, the bill was removed from the ballot at the last minute due to growing dissent within the SPD.

In the first weeks of the year, a number of SPD politicians publicly voiced their opposition to the bill and raised concerns over a number of its core principles, throwing the bill and its prospective timeline in doubt.

However, according to an announcement from deputy parliamentary leaders of the coalition parties last evening, including the FDP’s Konstantin Kuhle, the Greens’ Maria Klein-Schmeink and the SPD’s Dagmar Schmidt, this resistance has now been overcome.

Now, the group suggests that the final reading is expected to take place in the week beginning February 19, meaning cannabis could be removed from the list of narcotic substances in Germany by April 1, and cannabis cultivation clubs could be possible by July 1, 2024.

In order to assuage critics, there will be a more thorough evaluation of the law after four years, which will now include an examination of the bill’s impact on organised crime alongside the effects on health and youth protection.

Despite the swathe of concerns raised by parliamentarians, it is understood that no other major changes have been made to the CanG bill.

“The regulations are a real milestone for a modern drug policy that strengthens prevention and improves health, child and youth protection,” the group said in a statement yesterday.


Malta’s first operational CHRA reaches capacity within a week

Malta’s first fully operational Cannabis Harm Reduction Association (CHRA) has already reached maximum capacity less than a week after opening.

KDD Society became the first CHRA to begin distributing cannabis to its members on Tuesday (January 30) and saw prospective members flock to get involved.

In October, KDD announced that it has officially received its operational licence from the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis (ARUC) alongside Ta’ Zelli.

At the time, the organisation said it had begun cultivation of its first crop with a view to having its distribution site ‘fully operational by the first quarter of next year’.

After weeks of testing by ARUC to ensure KDD’s 200-plant crop was free from unwanted contaminants, it was given the green light to begin distributing adult-use cannabis to its members.

According to local media, KDD currently offers five different strains ranging from 11% to 17% THC.

With members only allowed to purchase up to 7 grams a day, with a maximum of 50 a month, the current stock is expected to last until the new batch currently being grown is ready.

Within the first two days of opening, KDD had already reportedly gained 150 members, and is now understood to have reached capacity with 250 members, meaning no further members can join.

The CHRA’s president Kenneth Ellul said that members vary considerably in age, ranging from 18 to 76, with around half of the club’s senior members holding medical cannabis licences.

ARUC says that it has now issued six operating permits to CHRA’s, although dozens of applications are thought to have been filed.

The positive developments come just weeks after the regulator was taken to court by a prospective CHRA as part of a wider campaign being brought by Malta’s cannabis industry ‘aimed at bringing to light the significant challenges faced by CHRAs’.


Israel launches investigation into Canadian cannabis imports

Israel’s Ministry of Economy has launched a new investigation into a number of major Canadian cannabis companies amid claims that a ‘flood’ of imports have led to ‘a drop in prices and unfair competition’.

According to the Israeli Cannabis Magazine, Israeli cultivators filed a complaint with the government over allegations that the influx of cheap Canadian cannabis imports are forcing down their prices, impacting their margins and has already been behind a number of high profile collapses.

While the sale of imported cannabis at discounted prices is not in itself illegal, if damage is caused by the practice this could be perceived as a violation of the rules of fair trade.

This means that, should Israel’s multi-month investigation determine discounted Canadian imports are damaging the fortunes of domestic operators, a tax could be imposed, raising prices across the board and giving domestic operators more room to breathe.

A notice issued by the Israeli government on January 18 notes 10 Canadian companies that are implicated in the investigation, including Tilray, Hexo Corp, The Green Organic Dutchman, Canopy Growth, SNDL, Organigram, Village Farms, Cronos Group, Decibel Cannabis and Auxly Cannabis Group.

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