Cannabis legalization in Germany

Cannabis legalization in Germany

The historic approval of cannabis legalization in Germany is about to transform the drug policy landscape in Europe. A ferocious debate about decriminalising cannabis has been raging for years in Germany, with doctors’ groups expressing concerns for young people and conservatives saying that liberalisation will fuel drug use. On February 23, 2024, with an overwhelming vote from the Bundestag, a new law was passed, legalizing the possession and cultivation of THC cannabis for personal use, marking a significant step forward in the fight against the black market and in public education .

How will cannabis sales work?

Starting from April 1st, German adults will have the right to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal consumption and to cultivate up to three plants. From July 1st, sales will be conducted through authorized cultivation associations, known as Cannabis clubs, which will operate similarly to cannabis associations in Spain. Authorized cultivation associations will handle the distribution of the substance at affordable prices, ensuring its quality.

The legalization of cannabis in Germany is limited to personal use and does not include retail sales as seen in cannabis dispensaries in the United States or coffee shops in Amsterdam. Over the next few years, the government aims to assess the impact of the new law and eventually introduce regulated cannabis sales. Read this articleto find out more.

The goals of the law

According to the Ministry of Health, the main objective of this law is to protect public health. The restrictions applied to cannabis clubs, along with a rigorous educational campaign, aim to inform consumers about the effects and risks of cannabis. Furthermore, Minister Lauterbach emphasized that this initiative marks a “long-term change in German drug policy” and aims at fighting illegal cannabis trafficking in the country, preventing the toxicity of unregulated products in an unregulated way and to reduce young people’s access to other, more harmful substances. This balanced approach reflects a new era of drug policies focused on prevention and education.

What restrictions will exist?

The amount of cannabis that will be allowed to be possessed in Germany will be subject to specific restrictions. Cannabis clubs, for example, will be subject to strict limitations, with a maximum of five hundred members allowed (who must be of legal age and resident in Germany). Only individuals with “verified reliability” will be allowed to operate these cannabis clubs, and consumption within such premises will be prohibited. These clubs will not be allowed to advertise and their members will have a limit of 25 grams of marijuana per day and 50 grams per month.

For adults under 21 years old, the limit will be 30 grams. The free sale of marijuana in any type of shop, headshop, or grow shop will not be allowed. Additionally, the government has planned to launch an educational campaign to inform about the consequences and risks associated with cannabis use. The law prohibits cannabis consumption near schools, kindergartens, and playgrounds during the day, with a restricted consumption area 100 meters away.

A costumed cannabis supporter holds a banner against prohibition during the annual Hemp Parade on August 12, 2023 in Berlin, Germany

Support and Criticisms

In the negotiations, we agreed on a paradigm shift in drug policy toward psychoactive cannabis, expressly recognizing the social reality,” said spokesmen for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Freedom Party (FDP) of Germany. The initiative received broad support with 407 votes in favor, 226 against and four abstentions.

Despite widespread support, there have been criticisms from some politicians and experts. Some argue that legalization could trivialize cannabis use and lead to serious public health consequences. However, the majority of lawmakers believe that the new law is a step forward towards more humane and effective drug policies.

What impact has this news had in Italy?

La foglia di marijuana proiettata su facciata della Camera - RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA
Following the passage of the law in Germany, the association Meglio Legale projected a marijuana leaf on the facade of Montecitorio on Feb. 24 to raise awareness on the importance of legalizing cannabis in Italy, following the example of the recent German law allowing its personal use and cultivation. This action is part of the campaign Io Coltivo, promoted by various political and civic entities, which aims to collect signatures for a similar bill in our country. Riccardo Magi, secretary of +Europa, pointed out theopportunity presented by the legalization of cannabis in Germany and called for support for the bills already submitted, reiterating the possibility of signing for the popular initiative Io Coltivo.

Conclusions

The legalization of cannabis in Germany represents a historic moment for the country and for Europe in its whole. With a holistic approach that balances regulation with education, Germany is paving the way for more progressive, health-oriented drug policies. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments!

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