The parliamentary groups of the German governing coalition reached an agreement on the legalization of cannabis last week, thus creating the conditions for the new law to come into force in spring. The draft will now be discussed by the Bundestag, which is expected to vote on it this month.
Last week, "Die Zeit" reported that "the governing coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP has agreed on details for the legalization of cannabis" and that "the law could come into force on 1 April, but must first be approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat". According to the source, Karl Lauterbach, the German Federal Minister of Health, is "aiming for parliamentary approval in the week of February 19-23".
In an article on X last week, Lauterbach welcomed the agreement reached by the coalition parties.
"The fight against the black market, decriminalization and better youth protection are coming as announced. The previous drug policy has failed, it is time for a new start," said Lauterbach. The agreement means that the state will remain on the course that the so-called traffic light coalition embarked on at the end of last year.
In November, the SPD, Greens and FDP had announced a breakthrough in the negotiations on the new cannabis law.
"The cannabis law is coming! At last! We are finally putting an end to the failed prohibition policy! After intensive negotiations, there is now a law that focuses on youth and health protection, puts an end to criminalization and is practicable," explained Green Party spokesperson Kirsten Kappert-Gonther in a post on social media at the time.
The road to legalization in Germany has hit several roadblocks, including the fact that the governing coalition "had to revise its plan, which originally called for the sale of cannabis, as it risked violating EU law. Media reported that the coalition also "faced criticism from opposition parties who tried to obstruct the proposed legislation" and that "internal disagreements arose within the government, particularly within the SPD, over the details of the bill".
In a statement, the coalition leaders said that "the regulations are a real milestone for a modern drug policy that strengthens prevention and improves the protection of health, children and young people."
According to various media outlets, the agreement "paves the way for the legalization of cannabis for personal use, in line with the upcoming vote" and if there are no further delays, "Germany is well on its way to becoming the third member state of the European Union to legalize cannabis for personal use after Malta and Luxembourg".
What are the rules for personal use and cultivation?
- In future, adults will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use.
- In private home cultivation, up to 50 grams and up to three female, flowering plants per adult are permitted.
- Possession in public areas is only punishable from 30 grams, in private from 60 grams. If the possession limits are exceeded, fines of up to 30,000 euros may be imposed.
Can weed be smoked in public?
The consumption of cannabis is prohibited within a radius of 100 meters of schools, daycare centers, playgrounds and public sports facilities. According to the draft law, it is not permitted to smoke weed in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.
Am I allowed to drive while stoned?
The Federal Ministry of Transport is to propose a limit value for the cannabis active ingredient THC by the end of March 2024. This is intended to create a regulation similar to the 0.5 per mille limit for alcohol. Until now, driving cars and motorcycles under the influence of cannabis has been strictly prohibited. Anyone driving a car or motorcycle under the influence of cannabis must expect a fine of at least 500 euros, a driving ban of one month, two points in Flensburg and, in the worst case, the revocation of their driving license.
Where can I buy my cannabis?
- The cultivation and distribution of cannabis should primarily be made possible by non-profit cultivation associations or cannabis clubs, such as those already approved in some regions of Spain and Malta.
- The cultivation associations may not supply their members with more than 25 grams of cannabis per person per day, but no more than 50 grams of cannabis per month in total. They may not provide their members with more than seven seeds or five cuttings per month to grow themselves.
- The minimum age for membership is 18, and the number of members per club is limited to 500.
- If members are under the age of 21, they may not receive more than 30 grams of cannabis per month, and the THC content of the cannabis may not exceed ten percent.
- The clubs must appoint youth protection, addiction and prevention officers and are not allowed to advertise. They must also maintain a minimum distance of 200 meters from schools and other children's and youth facilities as well as playgrounds.
- Membership of several clubs is prohibited.
- The consumption of cannabis on site in the cannabis clubs is not permitted.
The legalization of cannabis in Germany is a milestone with many facets. It is important to consider the different perspectives on this topic and to evaluate the possible consequences of legalization, both positive and negative. The implementation of legalization will show what impact it will have on society.