Berlin, 11/03/2023: The Cannabis Act (CanG) is on its way to being passed. Possession of cannabis for personal use is to become legal from 2024. According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), the first step – known as “Pillar 1” – is to enable private cultivation and cultivation associations for adults and ensure better protection for young people and consumers. It is estimated that more than 200 growers’ associations have already been founded nationwide (and the trend is rising). The federal government expects 3,000 cultivation associations in the medium term. These are regularly referred to as “Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC)”, as social aspects such as communal consumption in the club also plays a role in addition to personal supply. This is not, however, permitted in the current draft law. CSC-Maps (www.csc-maps.de) is a platform for cannabis social clubs in Germany, has interviewed many of the prospective cultivation associations and is thus presenting the first study on cannabis legalization in Germany from the perspective of the CSCs.
Distance rules pose a major challenge for cannabis clubs
The clubs see the federal government’s planned distance regulations as a major problem: in order to protect children and young people, the draft law stipulates that cultivation clubs must be at least 200 meters away from schools, children’s and youth facilities and children’s playgrounds.
69 percent of the clubs surveyed therefore fear that it will be difficult to find suitable areas for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis. The second biggest challenge will be financing the necessary investments and start-up costs (66 percent). Another major point of criticism of the draft law is the obligation for members to personally participate in cultivation (59 percent). This requirement was often classified as “very problematic”.
Member recruitment is not a problem
Most clubs (69%) are very optimistic when it comes to recruiting enough members for their clubs. This may also be due to the fact that most CSCs (58%) plan to have a maximum club size of 250 members in the first twelve months after legalization – up to 500 members would be permitted. 23 percent of clubs plan to accept fewer than 100 members.
The majority of clubs (60 percent) plan to sell between ten and 30 grams of cannabis per member per month. On average, a selling price of between seven and eight euros per gram is expected, which would be noticeably below the usual black market price of around ten euros. This shows the desire of the prospective cultivation associations to produce cheaply for their members, if the legal requirements allow this.
Cannabis clubs want to enable their members to consume cannabis gently
Almost 81 percent of clubs would like to supply cannabis to their members in the form of both flowers and hashish. 63 percent would also like to offer other products such as cannabis extracts and edibles (foods with added THC). However, this would not be permitted under the current draft law.
The cannabis club community is eagerly awaiting the changes to the cannabis bill that the parliamentary process will bring. Hopes are high that the hurdles for those who want to participate legally will be lowered considerably in line with the goals formulated by Karl Lauterbach.
Jürgen Neumeyer, Managing Director of the BvCW, comments: “We are pleased about the intensive activities of the prospective cultivation clubs. However, it is already becoming apparent that this will not be enough to even begin to cover the population’s needs and significantly reduce the black market.
If one were to imagine that a full legal supply for the German population were to be provided by grow clubs alone, this would mean that 16,000 clubs would have to be established in Germany. On the one hand, this would be significantly more than the number of 3,000 cultivation associations envisaged by the federal government and, on the other hand, it would be very unlikely due to the high regulations envisaged for clubs.
The Federal Government is therefore called upon to implement the so-called “Pillar 2″ as quickly as possible with the participation of the economy. Otherwise, the black market cannot be effectively counteracted in the medium term.”
Dr. Peter Reinhardt, Managing Director of CSC-Maps (Greenrise GmbH), adds: “We hope that the results of the study will help politicians to remove a few more hurdles for the clubs, in particular to reconsider the superfluous distance rules and the obligation for all members to personally participate in the cultivation. Permitting the private production of extracts and edibles would also be advisable from the cannabis clubs’ point of view and would help to further reduce the black market.”
The exact results of the study can be found here. The graphics may be published free of charge, provided the source is acknowledged.
About the survey
The results were collected as part of an online survey on the CSC-Maps platform between October 5 and 15, 2023. 132 cannabis social clubs listed on CSC-Maps (existing clubs and projects in formation/preparation) were invited to take part in the survey. 73 clubs (55 percent) took part and completed the questionnaire in full. The survey was conducted anonymously. The distribution of the CSCs across the federal states is based on the information provided by the clubs in the listings. All listings on CSC Maps as of October 15, 2023 were taken into account.
About CSC Maps
CSC Maps (www.csc-maps.de) is Germany’s first information and club portal on the topic of cannabis social clubs. Here, interested parties can find clubs to join or access information about founding their own club. The portal was launched in 2023 by Greenrise GmbH from Berlin. Greenrise GmbH is part of a group of companies investing in the emerging cannabis market. The group also includes the accessories store www.budtenders.de and a company for future distribution via specialist stores.
Further documents of the cannabis industry on the regulatory discussion on recreational cannabis:
ELEMENTE Volume 36: Statement Cabinet Decision CanG
ELEMENTE Volume 35: Position paper cultivation clubs
ELEMENTE Volume 32: Statement on the draft bill CanG
ELEMENTE Volume 29: Position paper on licensed points of sale (specialist stores)
ELEMENTE Volume 28: Position paper on quality requirements for recreational cannabis
ELEMENTE Volume 27: Position paper on home cultivation of cannabis as a stimulant
ELEMENTE Volume 26: Position paper Track & Trace
ELEMENTE Volume 25: Synopsis of association positions
ELEMENTE Volume 24: Position paper on supply chains and production conditions
ELEMENTE Volume 23: Position paper on prevention & risk minimization
ELEMENTS Volume 22: Cannabis regulation – Collection of mistakes and lessons learned from other countries
ELEMENTS Volume 21: Why it is practically impossible for industrial hemp to be abused for intoxication purposes
ELEMENTS Volume 20: Key issues paper on recreational cannabis regulation – On the way to a German cannabis agenda
An overview of the ELEMENTE series can be found here.
Contact person for the BvCW:
German Cannabis Business Association e.V. (BvCW)
Jürgen Neumeyer, Managing Director
Tel: 0163 986 08 88
Luisenstr. 54, 10117 Berlin
Contact person for CSC Maps:
Tel: 0173 370 26 49
Ringbahnstr. 22-30, 12099 Berlin
CSC Maps is a trademark of Greenrise GmbH