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Germany partially decriminalises cannabis

MARIJUANA campaigners in Germany lit celebratory joints today as the country liberalised rules on cannabis to allow possession of small amounts.

The German Cannabis Association, which campaigned for the new law, staged a “smoke-in” at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate when the law took effect at midnight. 

Other public smoking events were scheduled throughout the country, including one in front of Cologne Cathedral and others in Hamburg, Regensburg and Dortmund.

The new law legalises possession by adults of up to 25 grams (just under an ounce) of marijuana for recreational purposes and allows individuals to grow up to three plants of their own. 

That part of the legislation took effect Monday.

German residents aged 18 and older will be allowed to join non-profit “cannabis clubs,” with a maximum of 500 members each beginning July 1. 

Individuals will be allowed to buy up to 25g per day, or a maximum 50g per month — or 30g for under-21s. Membership of multiple clubs will not be allowed.

Marcel Ritschel in the Neustadt area in Dresden told the BBC that he was planning to start a cannabis club in July or “a gardening club but for hemp.”

He said: “Every gram that goes from the cannabis social club is one gram that’s not on the black market,” he says. “So it’s a win-win situation.”

Regional authorities worry that the judicial system will be overburdened by thousands of cases.

The law was pushed through by the current coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, against opposition from some of Germany’s federal states and the right-wing Christian Democrats. 

Christian Democratic leader Friedrich Merz has vowed that his party will reverse the legislation if it wins national elections expected in the autumn of 2025.


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