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21 Apr, 2024 16:30

Germany to ban smoking weed in train stations

Cannabis will be prohibited even in zones designated for lighting up, Bild has reported
Germany to ban smoking weed in train stations

People smoking pot in German railway stations could be banned from the premises starting on June 1, the national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), told the tabloid Bild on Saturday. The move comes after the country legalized the use of recreational marijuana, including in some public places.

The decision was aimed at ensuring public well-being and protecting minors, a DB spokeswoman told Bild. “We want to protect our passengers, particularly children and young people,” she said, adding that the existing law also prohibits smoking weed in pedestrian zones and near schools or playgrounds during the day.

Under a law enacted in February, adults in Germany are allowed to possess up to 50 grams (1.7 ounce) of marijuana in private homes. In public spaces, the maximum is 25 grams. Public consumption of marijuana is generally allowed except for areas near schools and playgrounds and in sports facilities. Minors caught with cannabis will have to go through a drug-abuse prevention program under the existing rules.

DB security employees will start informing passengers next week about the upcoming ban, the operator’s spokeswoman told the paper. The company also plans to inform people through posters at each station warning that violations of the new rules could entail penalties, including being barred from the property.

The penalties will be applied starting from June 1. Until then, employees will urge the travelers to refrain from consuming cannabis with “friendly requests and advice,” the spokeswoman said. Only medical consumption of marijuana will be permitted.

Smoking, including vaping, is also not permitted in the stations. Only about 400 railway terminals out of a total of 5,400 are outfitted with special smoking areas. Consumption of marijuana will be banned there as well, the paper reported. Around 20 million people use DB train stations every day, according to Bild.

The government promoted the legalization of marijuana as a blow against the illegal drug trade. The intention was to create “an alternative to the black market,” German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach stated in February. The law came into force on April 1.

Legalization of the recreational drug in Germany faced backlash from some medical professionals. “From our point of view, the law as it is written is a disaster,” Katja Seidel, a therapist at drug addiction center Tannenhof Berlin-Brandenburg told AFP in April.

Professor Ray Walley from the Standing Committee of European Doctors also warned last year that “evidence shows that cannabis is an addictive drug with many hazards.” In April, he said that the changes in Germany would “increase use and health related harms, especially among youth.”

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