Germany: green light from the government to legalize recreational cannabis

Tatiana Geiselmann, with AFP // Photo credit: Monika Skolimowska / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP
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6:54 p.m., August 16, 2023

Another step towards the legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany. The German Council of Ministers has passed a bill to legalize – in small quantities and with strict rules on where it can be consumed – the consumption of cannabis in the country. An awareness campaign on the risks associated with this consumption will be launched in parallel.

Germany took a further step towards the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes on Wednesday with the adoption by the Council of Ministers of the bill, which will be accompanied by a prevention campaign aimed at young people. According to the text, which has yet to be debated and voted on by parliament, it will be possible from the age of 18 to buy and possess up to 25 grams of cannabis.

Germany will thus have one of the most liberal legislations in Europe, following in the footsteps of Malta and Luxembourg, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2021 and 2023 respectively. with the Greens and the Liberals has made this legalization one of the flagship projects of its mandate even if the initial plan went much further. Faced with the reservations of the European Union, Berlin had to review its copy.

A law that must put an end to trafficking

The reform also arouses criticism from the opposition, police unions or judges who believe that it will not put an end to trafficking, when it is one of the objectives. According to this bill, it will also be possible to cultivate up to three cannabis plants for one’s own use. The new legislation provides for the creation of non-profit associations whose adult members – their number is limited to 500 – will be able to cultivate the plant for their own consumption, under the supervision of the public authorities.

These “Cannabis Social Clubs” – as they call themselves – will have a regulated activity: they will only be able to supply their members and at the rate of 25 grams per day with a maximum of 50 grams per month. For young people aged 18 to 21, it will be a little less: 30 grams per month. These clubs will be subject to controls by the public authorities.

A major awareness campaign launched

The consumption of cannabis must be outside these clubs and will be prohibited within 200 meters of these clubs, schools, playgrounds, sports fields and associations for young people. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also plans to launch a major awareness campaign aimed at young people on the dangers of cannabis for the brain “particularly harmful when it is still in a period of growth”.

“For young people (under 18, editor’s note), consumption remains prohibited and for young adults (up to 21), it is limited”, he recalled in a press release.

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