close
Sunday April 21, 2024

Germany joins legal cannabis club

You are asserting in all seriousness that by legalising more drugs we will contain drug use among young people, says legislator

By REUTERS
February 24, 2024
The Germanys national flag can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
The Germany's national flag can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

BERLIN: Germany on Friday joined the small group of countries and jurisdictions that have legalised cannabis when the Bundestag passed a law allowing individuals and voluntary associations to grow and hold limited quantities of the drug.

The law passed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling three-party coalition legalises cultivating up to three plants for private consumption and owning up to 25 grams of cannabis.Larger-scale, but still non-commercial, cannabis production will be allowed for members of so-called cannabis clubs with no more than 500 members, all of whom must be adults. Only club members can consume their product.

“We have two goals: to crack down on the black market and improved protection of children and young people,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at the start of a rowdy debate where the opposition accused him of promoting drug use.

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

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

But Lauterbach said that this amounted to “sticking our heads in the sand”: not only had cannabis use soared among young people, whose developing brains were particularly endangered, but drugs on the streets were both stronger and more impure nowadays, greatly increasing their harm.