The recently approved legislation creates new opportunities for possession and cultivation.
In mid-August, the German government passed a bill that would allow adults to possess up to 25g of cannabis (50g per month), grow up to three plants, and would create “cannabis clubs” (for adults who are at least 18 years old) with members being allowed to buy cannabis in limited amounts (1). Currently, it is illegal to buy cannabis in Germany, but it is not legal to consume it (1).
This new legislation, still needing approval from Parliament, is part of a two-step plan that will possibly take effect by the end of this year (2). It could reportedly pave the way for more legalization in Germany, making it the first major country in Europe to do so (1).
“This is an important law that will represent a long-term change in drug policy,” said Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s health minister (1). He also explained that Germany could not continue the trend of rising, problematic cannabis consumption, including the illegal market, contaminated cannabis, and drug-related crime (2,3). Also planned is an awareness campaign addressing risk associated with consumption (3).
“We want to limit consumption and make it safer, especially for children and young people. But we don’t want to expand it,” Lauterbach stated (1).
Opposition exists to the legislation. "This law will be linked to a complete loss of control," Armin Schuster, conservative interior minister for Saxony (3). Criticism from cannabis advocates contends that the new measure is too restricted and would not allow many of the cannabis clubs to operate (2).
The government reportedly also has plans to study the effects of allowing commercial cannabis purchases by initiating pilot programs that would allow certain shops to sell cannabis (1). Other countries, such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, have similar plans (3). Malta was the first country in Europe to legalize cannabis (1).