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Germany Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

On April 1, 2024, Germany became the largest European Union (EU) nation to legalize recreational cannabis use, despite facing opposition from politicians and medical associations. Under the new law, adults over 18 are now permitted to carry up to 25 grams of dried cannabis and cultivate up to three marijuana plants at home.

European Landscape

Germany joins Malta and Luxembourg as countries with the most liberal cannabis laws in Europe. The Netherlands, known for its permissive attitude towards the drug, has recently adopted a stricter approach to counter cannabis tourism. The law’s implementation was celebrated by around 1,500 people in central Berlin, with some lighting up joints near the Brandenburg Gate. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach praised the move as a step towards better addiction help, prevention, and combating the black market.

Further Developments

From July 1, 2024, “cannabis clubs” will be allowed to distribute up to 50 grams of cannabis per person per month to their members, with a maximum of 500 members per club.

Concerns and Criticisms

Medical groups have raised concerns about the potential increase in cannabis use among young people, citing risks to the development of the central nervous system and an increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia. Police unions have expressed concerns about the potential difficulties in enforcing the new law, anticipating situations of conflict and uncertainty with citizens.

Opposition and Future Implications

Conservative opposition leaders have vowed to repeal the law if they form a government after the 2025 elections. Meanwhile, cannabis advocates believe the law could have gone further in decriminalizing cannabis use.

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