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Cannabis: Germany legalises possession of drug for personal use | World News

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The German parliament has approved controversial plans to legalise the personal use of cannabis.

The measure was passed by Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, on Friday.

From 1 April, adults will be able to buy up to 25 grams (one ounce) of the drug a day, or up to 50 grams (two ounces) per month for recreational use.

The figure will be capped at 30 grams a month for under-21s.

Users will also be able to grow up to three plants each for private consumption.

Germany’s upper house, which represents 16 state governments, could in principle delay the legislation, though it does not formally require the chamber’s approval.

Bavaria’s conservative state government has also said it would examine whether legal action could be taken to halt the law.

The plans, part of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s social reform programme, passed by 407 votes to 226 on Friday.

The measures were previously scheduled to become law at the start of the year, but got held up following resistance from some lawmakers in Mr Scholz’s ruling three-party coalition.

Health minister Karl Lauterbach during the debate on legalising cannabis. Pic: AP
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Health minister Karl Lauterbach in the Bundestag during the debate. Pic: AP

Health minister Karl Lauterbach said: “We have two goals: to crack down on the black market and improved protection of children and young people.”

He said that Germany’s current laws had failed, as usage is growing and the country is facing increasing problems from contaminated or overly-concentrated batches. An estimated 4.5 million Germans use the drug.

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Mr Lauterbach added: “Whatever we do, we can’t carry on like this. You can stick your head in the sand… but we won’t solve a single problem that way.”

The minister said research suggested the best approach to managing the drug was to remove its social taboos and ensure users are informed about the risks.

However, Conservative lawmaker Tino Sorge, a member of Germany’s centre-right opposition, attacked the plans.

The Christian Democrat legislator said: “You are asserting in all seriousness that, by legalising more drugs, we will contain drug use among young people.

“That is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard.”

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The measures also allow German residents aged 18 and over to join non-profit “cannabis clubs,” with a maximum of 500 members each, which can grow the drug for their members’ personal use only from 1 July.

Under the new legislation, dealers caught selling to children or youths could be jailed for up to two years.

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Advertising and sponsorships featuring the drug will also be banned, along with smoking it near schools, playgrounds and sports facilities.

The plans are less radical than the government’s original proposals, to allow cannabis to be sold to adults at licensed outlets, which were watered down following discussions with the EU.

Germany becomes the ninth country to legalise recreational use of the drug, while many more allow its medical use as a painkiller.

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