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1 Apr, 2024 09:58

Germany legalizes marijuana 

Adults are now allowed to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to three marijuana plants at home  
Germany legalizes marijuana 

Smoking cannabis is now legal for adults over age 18 in Germany, after a new law greenlighting personal possession came into effect on April 1.

The legislation, which made Germany the biggest EU country to legalize recreational cannabis, was adopted after a heated debate about the pros and cons of providing easier access.

The new law allows adults in Germany to possess up to 25g of dried cannabis in public spaces and cultivate up to three marijuana plants at home.

Public consumption of marijuana will be prohibited near schools, sports facilities and children’s playgrounds between 7:00am and 8:00pm. Minors caught in possession of cannabis will have to go through a drug-abuse prevention program.

The German coalition government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz argued that legalization will help contain the growing black market for the popular substance. However, a number of medical associations have warned that the move to decriminalize weed will lead to the highest risks among young people.

“From our point of view, the law as it is written is a disaster,” Katja Seidel, a therapist at the Tannenhof Berlin-Brandenburg, a drug addiction center in the nation’s capital, told AFP.

“Access to the product will be easier, its image will change and become more normalized, especially among young people,” Seidel said, adding that she expected to see a surge in cannabis use “at least initially.”

Echoing these remarks, Professor Ray Walley from the Standing Committee of European Doctors warned that cannabis can be addictive and that the new measures will “increase use and health related harms, especially among youth.”

The law also allows for larger-scale drug cultivation in non-profit “cannabis clubs” starting from July 1. These groups must comprise no more than 500 members and will only grow plants for their personal consumption. The cannabis clubs are supposed to be only for people living in Germany in order to stop a wave of tourists from pouring in to enjoy hassle-free recreational marijuana use.

The German police have also voiced concerns, saying that April 1 will mark the start of a “chaos phase” for the country. Experts predict that demand will quickly outstrip the legal supply, as it will take months before cannabis clubs can start to function.

“We assume that the black market will be strengthened,” Alexander Poitz from Gewerkschaft der Polizei (GdP), the German Police Union, told the BBC.

According to official statistics from 2021, 8.8% of adults in Germany aged 18-64 said they had used cannabis at least once in the preceding 12 months. Among people aged 12 to 17, that number was nearly 10%.

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