April 23, 2024

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Germany Takes a Bold Step: Bundestag Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Germany Takes a Bold Step: Bundestag Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis



Germany Takes a Bold Step: Bundestag Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Germany has taken another big step towards cannabis legalization, becoming one of the most open countries in Europe regarding cannabis laws.

On February 23, the German Bundestag (lower house) passed a bill with 407 votes in favor, 226 against, and 4 abstentions, allowing individuals and non-profit organizations to cultivate and possess a limited amount of cannabis. The new regulations are expected to be approved by the Senate on March 22, making Germany join a small number of countries and jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis.

This law will allow the legal cultivation of up to three cannabis plants for personal use and possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis. Members of so-called “cannabis clubs,” with a maximum of 500 people, will be allowed to engage in larger-scale cannabis production, but commercial use is still prohibited. All members must be adults, and only club members can consume their products.

“We have two goals: to crack down on the black market and to strengthen protection for children and young people.” Facing accusations from the opposition about “promoting drug use,” German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach defended the law at the beginning of a heated debate.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member Tino Sorge was not convinced: “You seriously claim that by promoting more drug legalization, we will be able to curb the trend of young people using drugs. This is the most foolish thing I have ever heard.”

It is estimated that out of Germany’s population of over 80 million, around 4.5 million people use cannabis.

Lauterbach argued that this is tantamount to “burying our heads in the sand”: not only is there an increase in the number of young people using cannabis, which threatens brain development, but street drugs are now more potent and impure, greatly increasing their harm.

The Schultz government announced plans to legalize recreational cannabis when it came to power in 2021. On August 16 last year, the German government approved the controversial bill, pending parliamentary approval. Reuters reported that if the bill is passed in parliament, Germany will become one of the most open countries in Europe regarding cannabis laws.

Currently, Uruguay, Canada, Mexico, and other countries have legalized recreational cannabis, and at least 23 states in the United States have done the same. In Europe, many countries have legalized cannabis for limited medical purposes, and Germany enacted such a policy in 2017. Some other European countries have legalized cannabis for general use. For example, at the end of 2021, Malta became the first European country to allow limited cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use.

The report pointed out that Germany has joined the cannabis legalization club, becoming the ninth country to legalize recreational cannabis use. However, Germany still prohibits minors from using cannabis and prohibits cannabis use near schools and playgrounds.

It is worth noting that although the German government has touted cannabis legalization as a means to “combat the black market” and “strengthen supervision,” other countries have implemented similar measures with less than satisfactory results.

Some lawmakers also questioned how much impact the new regulations would have on cannabis transactions, as those unwilling to grow cannabis themselves or join “cannabis clubs” might still prefer to spend money to buy it.

Andy Grote, the Interior Minister of Hamburg and a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), warned: “Illegal cannabis is stronger and cheaper, and there may still be a significant demand for it (after legalization), and the black market and the legal market may be confused.” Moreover, regulating cannabis use will require “a comprehensive official cannabis supervision agency” to ensure that all regulations are complied with.

 

Germany Takes a Bold Step: Bundestag Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

Germany Takes a Bold Step: Bundestag Passes Bill to Legalize Cannabis

(source:internet, reference only)


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