Germany has legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis

AP , Monday 1 Apr 2024

Marijuana campaigners in Germany lit celebratory joints on Monday as the country liberalized rules on cannabis to allow possession of small amounts.

People smoke marijuana in front of the Brandenburg Gate during the  Smoke-In  event in Berlin, Germa
People smoke marijuana in front of the Brandenburg Gate during the Smoke-In event in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, April 1, 2024. AP

 

The German Cannabis Association, which campaigned for the new law, staged a “smoke-in” at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate when the law took effect at midnight. Other public consumption events were scheduled throughout the country, including one in front of the Cologne Cathedral and others in Hamburg, Regensburg, and Dortmund.

The new law legalizes possession by adults of up to 25 grams (nearly 1 ounce) of marijuana for recreational purposes and allows individuals to grow up to three plants on their own. That part of the legislation took effect Monday.

German residents age 18 and older will be allowed to join nonprofit “cannabis clubs” with a maximum of 500 members each starting July 1. Individuals will be allowed to buy up to 25 grams per day, or a maximum of 50 grams per month — a figure limited to 30 grams for people under age 21. Membership in multiple clubs won’t be allowed.

The clubs’ costs will be covered by membership fees, which are to be staggered according to how much marijuana members use.

The legislation also calls for an amnesty under which sentences for cannabis-related offenses that will no longer be illegal are to be reviewed and in many cases reversed. Regional authorities worry that the judicial system will be overburdened by thousands of cases.

The law was pushed through by the current coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Greens, and the pro-business Free Democrats, against opposition from some of Germany’s federal states and the center-right Christian Democrats. Christian Democratic leader Friedrich Merz has vowed that his party will reverse the legislation if it wins national elections expected in the fall of 2025.

Leading garden stores surveyed by the DPA news agency indicated they would not be adding cannabis plants to their horticultural offerings, and the German Medical Association opposed the law, saying it could have “grave consequences” for the “developmental and life prospects of young people in our country.”

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