Germany is legalizing cannabis use

German cannabis clubs must reduce cannabis consumption: 'This is the best form of legalization ever'



Germany is set to regulate the consumption of cannabis in a unique way: no coffeeshops, but "cannabis clubs". This will take effect by the end of this year. First, a warning campaign against the soon-to-be legal drug will be launched.

cannabis legalization germany protest photo vk getty


After a year of refining, the German government presented a law on Wednesday that legalizes and regulates the recreational use of cannabis from start to finish. The main goal is to protect "children and young people," said Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday in Berlin. "What we are doing now is not working: cannabis use is increasing. And what the Netherlands and some American states are doing also doesn't work."


Therefore, Germany is taking a completely different approach. The Cannabis Act is expected to come into effect later this year, legalizing both sales and production. Non-commercial associations under government supervision will be responsible for this. Members of these associations will be allowed to purchase 50 grams per person per month. Additional strict rules apply to young adults up to 21 years old (see sidebar). Selling to minors remains strictly prohibited. With the legalization of consumption, the government is formalizing the existing practice; even now, the scent of marijuana in Berlin's parks is unmistakable, and personal use is not prosecuted.


According to Lauterbach, the law marks a turning point in Germany's "failed drug policy." The minister also believes that the German model is "the best form of legalization ever attempted by a country." Commercializing cannabis production and sales, as some American states have done, leads to more consumption, according to Lauterbach. Allowing the sale and consumption of cannabis but leaving production to the black market, as the Netherlands has been doing for decades, fuels crime. According to the minister, it also leads to the increasing mixing of dangerous substances with cannabis. "This law should reduce drug-related crime, take cannabis off the black market, and reduce consumption."


Warning campaign

But first, the German government is launching a warning campaign against the drug that it is legalizing: "cannabis, legal, but..." The slogan will be spread on a purple-pink background through the "government's digital channels," followed by a warning. "Legal, but you will come last: regular cannabis consumption can affect physical performance. Legal, but anxiety: cannabis consumption can lead to mental problems. Legal, but better broccoli: regular cannabis consumption does not fit a healthy lifestyle."


The campaign is aimed at young people, as cannabis poses additional risks for users whose brains are still developing. With this, the government is trying to address concerns from industry associations including doctors and psychologists, who fear an increase in cannabis use among young people. "We are taking cannabis out of the taboo," said Lauterbach. "By the time the law comes into effect, there won't be a young person who doesn't know the risks. We are legalizing, but also creating awareness."


When asked why he didn't set the age limit at 21 or the monthly maximum purchase at less than 50 grams, Lauterbach pointed again to the core of the strategy. "We want to take production and sales away from the black market. Then you have to set up a system that can compete with it and win that competition. A minimum age of 21 is not realistic then."


After four years, Germany will evaluate the law. The government will also consider how commercial sales outlets can be established in addition to the association structure. More information on this will be available in the second half of 2024.



Production and sales will be conducted within non-profit associations. The government will control quality and compliance with the rules. Only adult residents of Germany can become members.

Members are allowed to purchase 50 grams of marijuana or hash per month, with a maximum of 25 grams per day. For those aged 18 to 21, the monthly limit is 30 grams. Additionally, this age group can only buy cannabis containing up to 10 percent THC, the active ingredient.

Consumption is not allowed in cannabis clubs, nor within 200 meters of them. Germany will not have coffeeshops.

Cannabis consumption is not allowed within 200 meters of schools, sports clubs, playgrounds, or other youth facilities.

A cannabis club can have a maximum of 500 members. According to Minister Lauterbach, this size allows for price competition with the black market without losing oversight by the authorities.

Source in dutch: VK Journal

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