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Germany parliament passes legislation allowing limited production and consumption of cannabis

Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, passed Friday legislation legalizing the limited production as well as the consumption of cannabis. The legislation was brought by the federal government, and in a roll-call vote, 407 MPs supported the law, 226 opposed it and four abstained. The legislation faced opposition from the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)/Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) and Alternative for Germany (AfD). However, the opposition motions did not find support with a majority in the Bundestag.

The “Draft law on the controlled handling of cannabis and to change further regulations” permits adults to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal use in private settings and up to 25 grams in public spaces. It allows controlled distribution of cannabis, with a maximum of 25 grams per day, 50 grams per month for adults and 30 grams per month for adolescents aged 18 to 21. Cannabis must meet quality standards and be passed on in its pure form. Consumption is prohibited within 100 meters of specific areas. Advertising and sponsorship of cannabis are banned to protect children and young people, and there will be a prevention campaign by the Federal Centre for Health Education.

The reform, set to begin on April 1, 2024, will be evaluated for its impact after four years.

Furthermore, the legislation permits private cultivation and controlled distribution of cannabis through cultivation associations. In the future, individuals will be allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants for personal use, with strict measures in place to prevent access by children and young people. Non-commercial cultivation associations can also cultivate cannabis and distribute it to their members, subject to tight regulations. These include a membership limit of 500 individuals residing in Germany, with membership verification required, and restrictions on the quantity distributed to members.

German Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach supported the legislation and stated that the failure of previous prohibition policies has led to increased youth usage, a thriving black market, toxic cannabis products and rising crime. He added that emphasizing education over bans and eliminating the black market offers a more effective solution.

Around 4.5 million Germans reportedly use cannabis. The bill still must go through another step for final approval, but after that, Germany will become the ninth country to legalize recreational cannabis.

Article: Germany parliament passes legislation allowing limited production and consumption of cannabis

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