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Germany plans to legalise cannabis for recreational use

Germany wants to make it legal for adults to purchase and own up to 30g of cannabis for recreational use and to privately grow up to three plants, the country’s Health Mminister has announced, saying the intended outcome could set a precedent and be a model for the rest of the European continent.

The overriding goal of making it legal to buy and smoke cannabis in Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, was to better protect young people, who were already consuming the drug in increasing numbers after obtaining it on the black market.

“We don’t want to expand cannabis consumption but to improve the protection of youth and health,” he said. With about 4m people in Germany having tried cannabis at least once over the past 12 months, he added, the current prohibitive model “isn’t working”.

The Guardian reports his three-party coalition announced its intention to legalise cannabis for recreational use when it took office at the end of the year, but progress on a law has been slowed down by fears that such a step could contravene EU law and international treaties.

Hoping to minimise the risk of a cannabis law being challenged by European courts at a later stage, Germany plans to submit an outline of its plans to the European Commission this week and seek an opinion.

If the commission makes it unequivocally clear that the German model is not compatible with EU law, Lauterbach said, the government would not try to proceed to legalise cannabis on that basis. If Brussels gave it the green light, he said, a draft law would be presented in the first quarter of 2023.

The outline of the plans foresees it becoming legal to buy and possess a maximum amount of 20g to 30g of cannabis for recreational use, and to consume it in private or in public. Privately growing up to three plants would also become legal.

Lauterbach said a legalisation of cannabis edibles, such as gums or baked goods, was still being looked into but was unlikely, as was the introduction of a general upper limit on the content of THC, the main psychedelic constituent of cannabis. An upper THC limit for 18- to 23-year-olds, however, is considered likely.

Advertising cannabis products would be banned. “A general ban on advertising recreational cannabis applies,” the outline document says. “Recreational cannabis is sold with (neutral) outer packaging without advertising design.”

The sale of cannabis products would probably take place in licensed establishments such as pharmacies, though the association of German pharmacists has spoken out against legalising the drug, warning it could be forced into competition with other commercial providers.

Lauterbach said the German path to legalising cannabis ran counter to that of The Netherlands, which technically still criminalises the growth and sale of the drug.

The Dutch model, Germany’s health minister said, had “combined two disadvantages: liberal use but not a controlled market”. “What we have learned from the Dutch experience is that we don’t want to do it that way”, he added. “We want to control the entire market.”

 

The Guardian article – Germany to legalise cannabis for recreational use (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Luxembourg first in Europe to legalise cannabis; Canada sees mostly good results

 

SA medical and recreational cannabis industry poised to take off

 

Tough cannabis policies do not deter young people – Study

 

 

 

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