On the 16th, the German government approved a bill in a cabinet meeting that legalizes the possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use as a recreational substance. According to local German media, the bill is expected to pass through the Bundestag and Bundesrat, the two chambers of the German parliament, and become law by mid-2023.
The bill allows adults aged 18 and older to possess up to 25 grams (0.9 ounces) of cannabis and cultivate up to 3 plants for personal use. To acquire cannabis, individuals must become members of nonprofit organizations supervised by public institutions authorized to oversee legal purchasing and cultivation. Additionally, using cannabis within 200 meters of public areas such as schools and sports grounds is prohibited.
During a press conference, officials highlighted that legalizing the controlled distribution of cannabis aims to deter illicit markets and drug-related transactions, promoting safer consumption of cannabis.
The legislation is limited to adults aged 18 and older, with usage among minors under 18 remaining illegal. The government expresses concerns about the health risks for young individuals and plans to run campaigns targeting youth.
This bill is being referred to as “a turning point,” indicating a shift in Germany’s stance on cannabis.
Recent Cannabis Developments in Europe
In 2021, Malta and in 2023, Luxembourg legalized the possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis. Malta, as an EU member state, became the first to legalize recreational cannabis in 2021. The Netherlands has tolerated cannabis sales and use in coffee shops since the 1970s.
Switzerland is considering launching a trial project to sell recreational cannabis. While Spain and Portugal have decriminalized personal cannabis use, recreational use of cannabis remains illegal.
Support for cannabis legalization is widespread in Europe, particularly in countries like Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. The future developments in this regard are worth keeping an eye on.