In the vote held in the Bundestag in February, the draft law partially allowing the use of cannabis was approved with the votes of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats, who form the government. In the vote, 407 deputies voted yes and 226 voted no, and the opposition Left Party deputies also supported the bill.

The legalization of the decriminalization of cannabis use is an important milestone for those who have been fighting for it for years. Opponents of the legalization of cannabis use warn that the new regulations could lead young people in particular to turn to harder drugs.

What does the law include?

The new law will remove cannabis from the list of banned substances in the Drugs Act and allow adults to grow it in pots and keep it on their person in certain quantities for personal use. According to the law, adults in Germany will be allowed to carry 25 grams of cannabis on their person. Individuals will also be able to grow three cannabis plants in their own homes and possess 50 grams of cannabis. The decision to ban cannabis in Germany was taken nearly 40 years ago.

According to the law, clubs for mass cultivation are allowed to open from July 1. As a member of these non-commercial clubs, people will be able to buy cannabis with a maximum of 25 grams per day. The number of members of the clubs will not exceed 500 people and members will not receive more than 25 grams of cannabis per day and 50 grams per month. For those in the 18-21 age group, this amount will be limited to 30 grams per month, and the rate of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which creates a numbing effect, will be reduced in cannabis sold to this age group. For those under 18, the ban on buying and consuming cannabis will remain in place.

Evaluation periods have been tightened

The parliamentary groups of the coalition partner parties agreed on the draft law at the end of November, but after criticism on the protection of children and young people from drugs, work was initiated to improve it. The November compromise was not substantially changed, but the issue of monitoring the law's effectiveness was amended.

Whereas the original draft called for a control evaluation four years after the law came into force, it was now decided that the evaluation would be carried out in stages, starting immediately. According to the final version of the bill, the first evaluation will take place at the end of one year, the second at the end of the second year and the third at the end of the fourth year, assessing the protection of children and young people as well as the impact on organized crime. The expertise of the Federal Police Agency (BKA) will also be used in the evaluation process. The BKA has previously been critical of the bill.

Opposition reacts

However, the opposition conservative Christian Union parties (CDU/CSU) and the far-right AfD, as well as the SPD, are known to oppose the law. The government, on the other hand, argues that legalizing cannabis use will strengthen anti-drug measures and make it possible to fight more effectively against the black market by removing users from the scope of punishment.

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