Germany legalises recreational cannabis but introduces strict purchase rules

Web Desk
February 23, 2024

Starting from April 1, smoking cannabis in many public spaces will be legal in Germany

A protester holds a placard saying ‘not criminal’ at a demonstration calling for the legalisation of cannabis in Germany. —Reuters

The German parliament has approved a new law allowing recreational cannabis use, marking a significant shift in drug policy, BBC reported.

While individuals over 18 will now have the right to possess substantial amounts of cannabis, purchasing the drug will be subject to stringent regulations.

Starting from April 1, smoking cannabis in many public spaces will be legal, with possession limits set at 25g in public and 50g in private spaces.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, a proponent of the reforms, aims to tackle the black market, enhance consumer safety, and disrupt revenue streams for organised crime. However, the complexity of the approved law raises questions about its practical implementation.

Despite the legalisation, there won't be an immediate proliferation of legal cannabis cafes. The original plan to permit licensed shops and pharmacies to sell cannabis was abandoned due to EU concerns about potential drug exports.

Instead, the law introduces "cannabis social clubs," limited to German residents, with a cap of 500 members per club. These non-commercial clubs will cultivate and distribute a restricted amount of cannabis.

While growing a limited number of cannabis plants at home will be allowed, the regulated market aims to control the drug's availability.

Smoking cannabis near specific areas, such as schools and sports grounds, will remain illegal. The law's approval comes after a heated debate, with critics arguing that the regulations may fuel the black market.

The government plans to evaluate the law's impact over the next few years and potentially introduce licensed cannabis sales. However, uncertainties persist, as opposition conservatives express intentions to overturn the law if they come to power next year.

Germany's journey into legalised cannabis is characterised by complexity, with the nation unlikely to transform into Europe's cannabis hub shortly.


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