April 18, 2024

German Parliament Passes Bill Legalizing Recreational Cannabis

In a groundbreaking move, the German parliament voted to legalize the possession and controlled cultivation of cannabis, starting in April. The new law allows individuals to obtain up to 25 grams of cannabis per day for personal use through regulated cannabis cultivation associations, as well as to grow up to three plants at home. However, the possession and use of cannabis will remain prohibited for individuals under the age of 18.

The decision places Germany alongside Malta and Luxembourg, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2021 and 2023 respectively, creating some of the most liberal cannabis laws in Europe. This move aligns with the shifting attitudes towards cannabis, as more countries reconsider their drug policies.

Despite opposition and concerns raised by medical associations and health groups, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach urged members of parliament to support the law, citing the rise in black-market cannabis use among young people. The illegal cannabis market often contains harmful substances like sand, hairspray, talcum powder, and even glass and lead, raising concerns about potential health risks associated with unregulated cannabis consumption.

While supporters of the law, such as Steffen Geyer from Berlin’s Hemp Museum, celebrate the decision as a step towards a more tolerant and rational drug policy, critics like Simone Borchardt from the opposition CDU party argue that legalizing cannabis could lead to increased health risks, especially for young people. Medical experts warn that cannabis use among adolescents could impact brain development, increase the risk of mental health issues like psychosis and schizophrenia, and contribute to respiratory diseases and even testicular cancer.

The passage of the cannabis legalization bill marks a significant milestone for Germany, where personal use of cannabis was previously restricted to individuals with specific medical conditions. The new law aims to regulate cannabis consumption, reduce black-market activities, and provide a safer environment for cannabis users. However, the debate surrounding the legislation continues, with differing opinions on the potential benefits and risks of legalizing recreational cannabis.

The German public remains divided on the issue, with a YouGov poll showing 47 percent in favor of the new law and 42 percent against it. As Germany prepares to implement the legislation and establish cannabis social clubs for regulated cultivation, the impact of legalizing recreational cannabis will be closely monitored to assess its effectiveness in addressing public health concerns and reducing illicit drug activities.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it