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Germany is set to implement a partial legalisation of cannabis, marking a significant policy shift under German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government. From Monday onwards, individuals will have certain allowances regarding cannabis possession and cultivation, although accessing the drug will not be without restrictions.

Germany Cannabis Legalisation: Here’s What Changes From April 1

As of April 1, individuals will be permitted to carry up to 25 grams of dried cannabis for personal use, along with the option for home cultivation of up to three plants per adult, according to news agency AFP. However, smoking cannabis will remain prohibited within a 100-metre radius of specific areas such as schools kindergartens, playgrounds, and public sports facilities, as well as during certain hours in pedestrian zones.

Smoking will also be prohibited in pedestrian zones between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm, AFP reported.

‘Cannabis Clubs’ From July 1

From July 1, Germany plans to establish regulated cannabis cultivation associations, known as ‘cannabis clubs’, where members can obtain the drug legally, AFP’s report stated. These clubs will have a membership limit of 500 individuals each and can sell a maximum of 50 grams of dried cannabis per month to each member. However, consumption and meetings within the clubs will not be permitted and membership will be limited to one club at a time.

Adults under the age of 21 are going to be permitted up to 30 grams of cannabis per month containing no more than 10 per cent of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as per the report.

Access to cannabis will be limited to individuals who have been residents in Germany for at least six months, aiming to deter ‘drug tourism’. While the government anticipates benefits in reducing black market trade and health risks associated with contaminated substances, medical associations and health groups have criticised the legislation. Opposition leader Friedrich Merz has threatened to repeal the law if his party comes into power after the 2025 elections.

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Germany Cannabis Legalisation: Experts Express Concerns

Despite the legalisation, concerns persist regarding the impact on young people. Addiction experts advocate for enhanced prevention efforts to safeguard adolescents from potential dangers associated with cannabis use, AFP reported.

“From our point of view, the law as it is written is a disaster,” Katja Seidel, a therapist at a Berlin drug addiction centre, was quoted as saying by AFP. “Access to the product will be easier, its image will change and become more normalised, especially among young people,” Seidel added, mentioning that she expected an upswing in cannabis use “at least initially”.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, a physician himself, acknowledges the risks, particularly for individuals under 25, and promises a comprehensive awareness campaign. However, critics question the efficacy of such campaigns and advocate for more direct engagement and education in schools, AFP’s report mentioned.

In Berlin, organisations like the Tannenhof Berlin-Brandenburg conduct prevention activities in schools, employing interactive methods to educate students about the risks of cannabis use. However, there is a need for increased resources and sustained efforts to reach a broader audience effectively. Initiatives such as online teacher training courses and prevention kits are being explored to address the issue comprehensively, the report stated.

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