Germany’s New Cannabis Laws: An Overview

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On February 23, 2024, recreational cannabis became legal in Germany in certain capacities.

After a rocky journey, cannabis for recreational purposes officially passed the German parliament with a vote of 407 to 226 on February 23rd, 2024 (1). As of April 1, 2024, smoking cannabis and possession of up to 25 grams in many public locations—excluding near schools and kindergartens—is set to become legal for adults over 18 years of age (1,2). In private residences, possession of up to 50 grams and the cultivation of up to three plants will be legal (2). The news was covered by several major news companies including the BBC, The Guardian, CNN, and Politico.

The bulk of the push for the new laws came from Germany’s Health Minister, Karl Lauterbach who has stated that his goals are to weaken the illegal market and protect consumers (1). Cannabis use in the country has been on the rise, he also explained, which poses health risks from contamination (2). The new regulations aim to tightly control the distribution of cannabis products (1). Instead of dispensaries, starting July 1, citizens will be able to obtain cannabis through membership of social clubs with limits and restrictions (1,3).


Additionally, with the loosening of restrictions, medical cannabis patients will reportedly access their medicine easier (4).

Opposition to the new regulations has focused on health risks and protections for youth (2). “The legalization of cannabis leads to more consumption and trivializes the associated risks,” stated Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Associations (GMA), said prior to the passing of the new regulations (2). “Cannabis can be addictive and cause serious developmental damage. This country does not need cannabis legalization.”

Tensions within the government still remain, and the effects of the legalization will be under watch for years to come (1).

Follow the progression of cannabis legalization in Germany, from initial legislation to internal criticism, plus how it’s perceived as a potential cannabis tourism location.


  1. McGuinness, D. Germany legalises cannabis, but makes it hard to buy (accessed Mar 4, 2024).
  2. Connolly, K. Germany legalises possession of cannabis for personal use (accessed Mar 4, 2024).
  3. Schmidt, N. Germany legalizes recreational cannabis use (accessed Mar 4, 2024).
  4. Zhang, M.; Wilke, P. German lawmakers pass cannabis legalization bill (accessed Mar 4, 2024).