Germany allows adults to grow up to three marijuana plants at home and carry 25 grams of dried cannabis | world News

Germany allows adults to grow up to three marijuana plants at home and carry 25 grams of dried cannabis |  world News

Germany on Monday became the largest country in the European Union to legalize recreational cannabis use, despite strong objections from opposition politicians and medical associations.

Germany on Monday became the largest country in the European Union to legalize recreational cannabis, despite strong objections from opposition politicians and medical associations. (archive photo)

Under the first step in the much-controversial new law, adults over the age of 18 are now allowed to carry 25 grams of dried cannabis and grow up to three marijuana plants at home.

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These changes leave Germany with some of the most liberal cannabis laws in Europe, along with Malta and Luxembourg, which legalized recreational use in 2021 and 2023 respectively.

The Netherlands, known for its lenient stance on drugs, has in recent years taken a tougher approach to combating cannabis tourism.

As the law came into effect at midnight, hundreds of people celebrated at Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate, many lighting up joints in what one participant, 25-year-old Niazi, happily described as “a little extra freedom.”

Read also| About 600 kilograms of hashish was seized inside a truck in the state of Haryana

As the next step in legal reform, from 1 July, it will be possible to obtain cannabis legally through “cannabis clubs” in the country.

These organized associations will each be allowed to have up to 500 members, and will be able to distribute up to 50 grams of cannabis per person per month.

Until then, “consumers should not tell the police where they bought cannabis” in the event of a street search, Georg Wirth, director of the German Cannabis Association, told AFP.

– ‘disaster’ –

Initial plans to sell cannabis through licensed stores have been abandoned due to EU opposition, although a second law is in the works to trial the sale of the drug in stores in pilot areas.

The German government, a tripartite coalition led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, says the legislation will help contain the growing black market for this popular substance.

But health groups have raised concerns that legalization could lead to increased use among young people, who face the highest health risks.

Experts have warned that cannabis use among young people could affect the development of the central nervous system, leading to an increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia.

“From our point of view, the law as written is a disaster,” Katja Seidel, a therapist at a youth cannabis addiction treatment center in Berlin, told AFP.

Even Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, a doctor, said that cannabis consumption could be “dangerous”, especially for young people.

The government promised a large-scale media campaign to raise awareness of the risks and strengthen support programs.

She also stressed that cannabis will remain prohibited to people under the age of 18 and within 100 meters of schools, kindergartens and playgrounds.

– ‘responsible’ –

The law has also drawn criticism from police, who fear it will be difficult to enforce.

“From April 1, our colleagues will find themselves in conflict situations with citizens, where uncertainty prevails on both sides,” said Alexander Poetz, vice president of the GdP police union.

Another potential problem is that the law would retroactively declare amnesties for cannabis-related crimes, creating an administrative headache for the legal system.

According to the Association of German Judges, the amnesty could apply to more than 200,000 cases that need to be examined and processed.

Conservative opposition leader Friedrich Merz said he would repeal the law “immediately” if he and his party form a government after the general election in 2025.

But Finance Minister Christian Lindner, of the liberal Free Democrats, said the legislation was a “responsible” move and better than “directing people to the black market.”

Lindner told public radio ARD that the new law “will not lead to chaos.”

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    (tags for translation)Germany

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