It’s a new week and this means, a new #BerlinUpdate episode is online.
Florian von Gierke talks about the last developments in the Cannabis legislation and our freshly elected Federal government in Berlin.
Hello and welcome to a new episode of Update from Berlin. My name is Florian von Gierke and I’m looking forward to giving you a quick rundown of what’s going on in Germany. As always, if there’s anything you think we are missing or that we should focus more on, let me know. You can find my contact info at the end of the video.
First off, late last week the Federal Health Ministry has started circulating a draft law for the envisioned decriminalization of cannabis in Germany among Federal Ministries. In essence, so called Cannabis Social Clubs are supposed to be legalized and individuals should be permitted to have three plants and up to 25 grams of cannabis. In a second step, likely this summer, Health Minister Lauterbach has announced his plan to present the second element of the cannabis legalization package. Designed to circumvent EU and UN restrictions on the sale and trade with cannabis, the plan is to introduce pilot program areas in Germany for scientific evaluation. In these areas, cannabis could be grown, traded, and sold within a state regulated scheme.
New Berlin Government
Given that the Bundestag is not in session this week, we thought we’d use this opportunity to introduce the new Berlin government to our viewers. You might remember that two years ago, Berlin held its elections on the same day as the Berlin marathon. Regardless of the reason, numerous voting locations scattered throughout the city ran out of ballots and ended up turning away voters. Other locations were open longer than legally allowed. It’s important to note, that this wasn’t a coordinated effort to disenfranchise a specific group of voters. Rather this likely was simply incompetence or inability on a variety of levels. Long story short, Berlin’s state supreme court ruled that these mistakes made the elections so egregiously flawed, that they had to be repeated as a whole. So that’s what happened in February; the CDU won in a landslide, and in late April the new government, led by Kai Wegner from the CDU and with the previously leading SPD as a junior partner, was sworn in. Why is this interesting? Well, the CDU hasn’t led a Berlin government since 2001 and overall, the SPD has held a tight grip on governing Berlin. Wegner’s start wasn’t flawless; he only got the majority in parliament on the third attempt and the Social Democrats only approved the coalition agreement by a razor thin majority of around 54%. The new coalition agreed to focus on improving public transport, housing and a better functioning administration.
We will see where this new government takes Berlin. There’s certainly plenty of more issues that need to be dealt with.
That’s it for this week. Again, please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.