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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Germany becomes biggest EU nation to legalise recreational cannabis

The Netherlands, known for its permissive attitude to the drug, has in recent years taken a stricter approach to counter cannabis tourism

By Agencies
April 02, 2024
Cannabis plants can be seen. — AFP/File
Cannabis plants can be seen. — AFP/File

BERLIN: Cannabis aficionados lit up in Germany on Monday, as the country became the largest EU nation to legalise recreational use, despite fierce objections from opposition politicians and medical associations.

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

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

The Netherlands, known for its permissive attitude to the drug, has in recent years taken a stricter approach to counter cannabis tourism.

As the law took effect at midnight, some 1,500 people cheered in central Berlin by the Brandenburg Gate, according to police, with some lighting up joints in celebration.

Legalisation was “a bit of extra freedom,” 25-year-old Niyazi said at the gathering. “You do not feel as under pressure now.”

Cannabis consumption has been brought out of the “taboo zone,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on X, formerly Twitter.

The new law was “better for real addiction help, prevention for children and young people and for combating the black market,” Lauterbach said, responding in part to criticisms levelled against legalisation.