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Germany Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Adults May Now Carry Up To 25g of  Cannabis

As the legislation came into effect at midnight, a crowd gathered near Berlin’s renowned Brandenburg Gate, with many individuals celebrating by lighting cannabis joints

On Monday, Germany emerged as the largest EU nation to sanction the use of recreational cannabis, despite strong resistance from opposition political parties and medical groups. The initial phase of the much-discussed new legislation permits adults aged 18 and over to possess up to 25 grams of dried cannabis and grow a maximum of three marijuana plants at home.

This development positions Germany among the European countries with the most progressive cannabis laws, joining the ranks of Malta and Luxembourg, which authorized recreational use in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

In contrast, the Netherlands, previously known for its lenient stance on the substance, has recently adopted a more stringent policy to curb cannabis tourism.

As the legislation came into effect at midnight, a crowd gathered near Berlin’s renowned Brandenburg Gate, with many individuals celebrating by lighting cannabis joints. A jubilant 25-year-old participant, Niyazi, described it as “a touch of additional liberty.”

The next phase of the legal reform, set to commence on July 1, will enable the legal acquisition of cannabis through “cannabis clubs” in the country.

Image : Times Now

These regulated groups will be permitted to have a maximum of 500 members each and will be authorized to distribute up to 50 grams of cannabis per individual each month. Until then, Georg Wurth, the head of the German Cannabis Association, advised that “consumers should refrain from disclosing their cannabis source to law enforcement” during a street check.

Initial proposals to sell cannabis through licensed outlets were abandoned due to EU resistance, but a secondary legislation is being considered to test the retail sale of the drug in selected regions.

What do the experts say?

The German government, a tripartite coalition led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, believes that legalization will help curb the growing illicit market for the widely used substance.

However, health organizations have expressed concerns that legalization could result in increased usage among young people, who are at the greatest health risk.

Experts caution that cannabis use among young individuals can impact the development of the central nervous system, leading to a heightened risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia.

Katja Seidel, a therapist at a cannabis addiction center for young people in Berlin, described the legislation as it stands as “a catastrophe.” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, a medical doctor, has also stated that cannabis consumption can be “hazardous,” particularly for young individuals.

The government has pledged a comprehensive information campaign to raise awareness of the risks and to enhance support programs. It has also emphasized that cannabis will continue to be prohibited for individuals under 18 and within 100 meters of schools, kindergartens, and playgrounds.

The legislation has also drawn criticism from law enforcement, who anticipate difficulties in its enforcement. Alexander Poitz, vice-president of the GdP police union, stated that “from April 1, our colleagues will find themselves in conflict situations with citizens, as uncertainty prevails on both sides.”

Another potential complication is that the legislation will retroactively grant amnesty for cannabis-related offenses, creating an administrative burden for the legal system.

The German Judges’ Association estimates that the pardon could apply to over 200,000 cases that would need to be reviewed and processed. Conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz has vowed to “immediately” repeal the law if he and his party form a government following the nationwide elections in 2025.

However, Finance Minister Christian Lindner, from the liberal FDP, argued that legalization was a “responsible” decision that was preferable to “directing people to the illicit market.” Lindner assured the public broadcaster ARD that the new law “will not result in chaos.”

You might also be interested in – Germany approves bill legalising cannabis

Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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