Germany’s Parliament Votes To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Germany’s lower house of parliament voted for the legalization of cannabis for limited recreational use on Friday, despite opposition and concerns raised by healthcare professionals.

Adults are now permitted to possess small quantities of cannabis for their own use, while the substance remains prohibited for individuals younger than 18.

A total of 407 members of the German parliament supported the new cannabis regulation, while 226 opposed it, and four abstained during Friday’s voting session.

This decision followed an intense national discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of facilitating access to the drug.

With this legislation, Germany becomes the third European country to decriminalize cannabis for recreational use, joining Malta and Luxembourg, and removing it from the list of prohibited drugs.

Although the Netherlands prohibits drug possession, certain local governments allow the sale of drugs in coffee shops under what is known as a tolerance policy.

The approach to cannabis regulation varies across different regions in countries such as Australia and the United States.

The new law, introduced by Germany’s coalition government, allows adults to grow up to three cannabis plants for personal use and to possess up to 50 grams at home or 25 grams in public spaces, effective April 1.

Starting July 1, cannabis will also be available through licensed, non-profit clubs limited to 500 adult members. Consumption is restricted to club members only.

“The aim is to crack down on the black market and drug-related crime, reduce the amount of dealing, and cut the number of users,” Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said ahead of the vote.

The government emphasized that cannabis would remain illegal for minors and be strictly controlled for young adults, with consumption near schools and playgrounds banned.

“Child and youth protection is at the heart of what this law is meant to achieve,” Lauterbach stated.

“Nobody should misunderstand this law: cannabis consumption is being legalized, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous,” Germany’s health minister added.

Germany’s leading opposition party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has stood against the recent legislation.

A statement from CDU representative Tino Sorge, released on Thursday, condemned the government’s approach, stating, “The coalition appears more like a state-run drug distributor than a protector of our youth and children.”

Additionally, the German Medical Associations (GMA) have voiced significant objections to the proposed changes.

“The legalization of cannabis leads to more consumption and trivializes the associated risks. Cannabis can be addictive and cause serious developmental damage. This country does not need cannabis legalization,” President of the GMA Klaus Reinhardt stated.