Cannabis legalization in Germany: everything you need to know

Published On: 25.March.2024Categories: Legal3 min read
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Christina Schröder writes about legal topics for the Love & Law Blog at Recht 24/7.

Weed under new rules: What applies from April

Times are changing, and so are the laws: From Easter Monday, Germany will experience a historic turning point with the partial legalization of cannabis. What was previously a criminal offense will become legal under certain conditions. But what exactly is changing? And what will remain illegal?

Legal, illegal, doesn’t matter? The new cannabis rules

Attention cannabis fans: Home cultivation will be legal – but only up to three plants per person. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can become a member of one of the newly established cannabis clubs. These cultivation clubs are allowed to supply their members with up to 50 grams of the green gold per month. But beware: the quantity is limited and not everyone is allowed to have that much. For young adults between the ages of 18 and 21, there is an upper limit of 30 grams per month, and the THC must not be stronger than ten percent.

Hoarding at home? Only to a certain extent

Storing cannabis at home will also be legal – up to a certain point. A maximum of 50 grams is allowed. If you are out and about, you may have up to 25 grams with you. However, anyone who exceeds the limits is quickly back on thin ice. If you exceed the limit by a small amount, you may be subject to a misdemeanor; if you exceed the limit by a larger amount, you may even be fined.

Where can you smoke pot – and where not?

The new freedom has its limits. For example, consumption is not permitted in cannabis clubs themselves. Schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and sports facilities remain taboo zones with a minimum distance of 100 meters. The following applies in pedestrian zones: smoking weed is prohibited during the day; smoking is only permitted at night between 8 pm and 7 am.

Cannabis clubs: the new green oases

The clubs may only open their doors from July and are strictly regulated. A maximum of 500 members, no advertising and safe storage of cannabis are just some of the requirements. Anyone wishing to become a member must be of legal age and make a contribution – because nothing is sold here. Funding is provided exclusively by membership fees.

On the road and behind the wheel: what applies?

The Federal Ministry of Transport is still working on a THC limit for drivers, comparable to the alcohol limit. Driving under the influence therefore remains risky and is by no means permitted.

What happens to old penalties?

In a generous act of amnesty, certain cannabis offenses that would be legal under the new laws will be retroactively waived. A relief for some, an additional burden for judicial authorities.

Why legalization does not only have fans

Not everyone is enthusiastic about legalization. Critics warn of health risks, especially for young people, and fear an increase in consumption. The police are confronted with increased control efforts. However, the federal government is focusing on education and prevention in order to inform the population about the risks and at the same time curb the black market.

A new chapter with many question marks

Germany is breaking new ground with cannabis legalization. While some celebrate the new freedoms, others remain skeptical. The next few years will show whether legalization will have the hoped-for positive effects or whether the critics’ concerns were justified. One thing is certain: the debate about cannabis in Germany is far from over.

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