Germany Takes Historic Leap, Following Canada's Lead in Legalizing Cannabis

Jeremy Bouvet
Germany Takes Historic Leap, Following Canada's Lead in Legalizing Cannabis

Germany Takes Bold Step: Legalizes Cannabis for Limited Recreational Use

In a landmark decision, Germany's lower house of parliament has voted to legalize cannabis for limited recreational use, marking a significant shift in the country's drug policy. Despite opposition and warnings from medical authorities, the new rules allow adults to possess small amounts of cannabis for personal use, while maintaining strict bans for individuals under 18.

According to CNN, 407 German lawmakers supported the new regulation, with 226 voting against it and four abstaining from the vote. This decision follows a heated national debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of loosening restrictions on cannabis access.

Germany now joins a select group of European countries, including Malta and Luxembourg, in legalizing recreational cannabis, removing it from the list of banned substances. While possession of drugs is prohibited in the Netherlands, certain municipalities allow their sale in coffee shops under a policy of toleration.

Under the newly passed legislation, proposed by Germany's ruling coalition party, adults will be permitted to cultivate up to three cannabis plants for personal use. Additionally, they can possess up to 50g of cannabis at home and 25g in public starting from April 1. Furthermore, licensed not-for-profit clubs with a maximum membership of 500 adults will be authorized to distribute cannabis from July 1, with consumption restricted to club members only.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach emphasized the government's objectives of combating the black market, reducing drug-related crime, and decreasing overall drug use. However, he reiterated that cannabis will remain illegal for minors and highly restricted for young adults. Consumption near schools and playgrounds will also be strictly prohibited to safeguard children and youth.

Despite the government's efforts to address concerns, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Germany's largest opposition party, has vehemently opposed the legislation. CDU lawmaker Tino Sorge criticized the government's approach, accusing the coalition of acting like a "state drug dealer" instead of prioritizing the protection of children and young people.

The German Medical Associations (GMA) have also expressed significant reservations about the legalization of cannabis. GMA President Klaus Reinhardt warned that legalization could lead to increased consumption and downplayed risks associated with cannabis use, including addiction and developmental damage.

In conclusion, Germany's decision to legalize cannabis for limited recreational use represents a significant departure from previous drug policies. While proponents argue that it will help combat the black market and reduce crime, critics remain concerned about potential health and societal impacts, particularly on young people. As the new law takes effect, its implementation and consequences will be closely monitored both domestically and internationally.

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