Germany has reached a pivotal moment in its drug policy with the finalization of its Cannabis Legalization Law, set to significantly relax previous regulations. The newly agreed-upon law, as confirmed by the drug policy spokesperson of the Green Party, Kerstin Kappert-Gonther, will be pushed through the Bundestag during the 50th calendar week of December 11-15, with the backing of the coalition government.
A cornerstone of the legislation is the reduced restrictions around cannabis possession and consumption. The no-consumption zones around kindergartens, playgrounds, and schools have been halved from 200 to 100 meters. Moreover, the law introduces a tolerance margin for cannabis possession. Possession of 25 to 30 grams, which previously would have been penalized, is now classified as a minor offense, with criminal charges only applicable for amounts exceeding this range.
Significant amendments have also been made regarding personal cultivation. The permissible amount of self-cultivated, dried cannabis has been doubled from 25 to 50 grams. Possession under 60 grams is treated as a minor offense, with criminal charges applying beyond this limit. The legislation clarifies that the permissible quantity refers to dried cannabis, effectively allowing the harvest of up to 300 grams without legal repercussions.
Another critical aspect of the law is the establishment of a new THC limit for drivers, with the current limit of one nanogram per milliliter of blood serum being deemed too low. A specialized commission is tasked to propose a revised threshold by March 31, 2024.
The law’s implementation is planned in stages. The provisions regarding personal cultivation and decriminalization of possession are set to take effect on March 1, while regulations for cannabis clubs are expected to be active by June or July 1.
This legislation marks a significant shift in Germany’s approach to cannabis, focusing on practical regulations that ensure youth and health protection while moving towards the decriminalization of adult consumption. The adjustments are seen as a move to provide alternatives to the black market and reduce the bureaucratic hurdles previously associated with cannabis use. However, the use of cannabis in edibles and in the premises of cannabis clubs remains excluded, with the government planning to address these aspects in the future.