Cannabis. – © POOL/AFP OLIVIER DOULIERY
Germany on Wednesday paved the way to legalising the purchase and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, as well as its production.
“The federal cabinet today agreed the key points for the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational use,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at a news conference.
The supply and use of the drug would be “permitted in a licensed and state-controlled framework”, Lauterbach said.
Under the proposals, people over 18 years old would be allowed to keep between “20 and 30 grams” of dried cannabis, which would be sold in authorised stores and pharmacies, according to a summary seen by AFP.
Germany would allow the domestic production of cannabis by licensed businesses, as well as giving adults the possibility to keep up to three plants for their own supply.
Advertisements for cannabis would be banned under the proposals, while packaging for cannabis products should be “neutral”.
Cannabis products sold to young adults under 21 years old could have a maximum strength but a general limit would not apply under the plans.
Current cannabis policies had failed to “ensure” health and youth protection aims, Lauterbach said.
“The trend is in the wrong direction and we also have a flourishing black market, which of course comes with criminality,” the health minister said.
Lauterbach did not provide a detailed timeline for the draft proposals to be turned into law but estimated that legalisation could come by 2024.
The eventual decriminalisation of cannabis will be reviewed after four years to assess the impact of the policy change.
Last year, Malta became the first country in Europe to formally legalise cannabis and its cultivation for personal use — although other countries tolerate it to varying degrees.
Germany’s neighbour Luxembourg is also looking to legalise the drug.