Germany Heads Towards Cannabis Legalization

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Germany approved a plan in mid-August to legalize some recreational cannabis.

According to a recent New York Times (1) article, the German government signed off on legislation that would allow adults to buy and possess small amounts of cannabis, but parliament still needs to approve the measure.

It is currently illegal to buy cannabis in Germany, but not illegal to consume it. The endorsement from the three-party coalition’s cabinet was a crucial step toward Germany becoming the first major European country to legalize marijuana (1).

The approved legislation would reportedly allow adults to purchase and possess up to 25 grams of recreational cannabis for personal consumption through nonprofit social clubs (1). This plan would allow distribution through the creation of licensed private cultivation associations with no more than 500 members. Members would be allowed to buy up to 25 grams a day, but with a limit of 50 grams in a month (1).


“This is an important law that will represent a long-term change in drug policy,” said Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s health minister, at a news conference on August 16, 2023 (1).

The German government also reportedly plans to launch a series of regional pilot programs that would allow the sale of cannabis through a small number of licensed specialty shops to gather more information about the effects of allowing individuals to purchase the plant commercially. Similar pilot programs exist in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Germany is not alone in their interest to legalize cannabis in some form. Several other European countries have expressed interest in cannabis legislation, such as the Czech Republic, Prague, Luxembourg, and Switzerland (2). Malta was the first country to legalize cannabis in the European Union (EU). Despite challanges from conservative members of the EU, it will be interesting to see how these countries handle cannabis legalization moving forward.


  1. Edmondson, C., Germany Takes Step Toward Legalizing Marijuana, New York Times,
  2. Gilchrist, K., These European countries are pushing to legalize weed — but the EU is not on board,,