Germany Legalizes Recreational Cannabis, Sparking Debate

Germany Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

On April 1, Germany made history by becoming the largest European Union nation to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, despite strong opposition from politicians and medical associations. The new law positions Germany among the countries with the most liberal cannabis policies in Europe, alongside Malta and Luxembourg, which legalized recreational use in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

New Freedoms and Regulations

Under the first phase of the new law, adults over the age of 18 are now permitted to possess up to 25 grams of dried cannabis and cultivate a maximum of three marijuana plants at home. The changes have been met with enthusiasm by cannabis enthusiasts, with approximately 1,500 people gathering near the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin to celebrate the law’s enactment.

Niyazi, a 25-year-old attendee at the gathering, described the legalization as “a bit of extra freedom,” noting that consumers no longer feel as much pressure. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach took to X (formerly Twitter) to state that cannabis consumption has been brought out of the “taboo zone,” asserting that the new law is “better for real addiction help, prevention for children and young people and for combating the black market.”

Next Steps and Concerns

Starting from July 1, individuals will be able to legally obtain cannabis through regulated “cannabis clubs.” These associations will be limited to 500 members each and will be permitted to distribute up to 50 grams of cannabis per person per month. Until then, consumers are not required to disclose the source of their cannabis to the police during street checks, according to Georg Wurth, director of the German Cannabis Association.

While initial plans for licensed cannabis shops were abandoned due to EU opposition, a second law is being prepared to trial the sale of the drug in shops within pilot regions. However, the legalization has raised concerns among medical groups, who fear that it may lead to increased use among young people, who are at the highest risk of health consequences.

News source:  thehindu

Matthew Ma