Cannabis legalisation in Germany

The Bundesrat in session, Berlin

The Bundesrat in session, Berlin. Credit:

On Friday 22 March, the Bundesrat cleared the way for the partial legalisation of cannabis in Germany.

The law comes into effect on April 1 (Easter Monday).

What does the new law allow?

Adults aged 18 and over will be permitted to carry up to 25 grammes of cannabis for their own consumption, to store up to 50 grams of the drug at home, and to grow three plants for their own use.

People will be able to smoke a joint in public, although not within sight of minors or near sports facilities, nor in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.

Special cannabis clubs of up to 500 members will be allowed to grow and share cannabis on a limited basis from July 1.

What is not permitted under the new law?

Seeds, plants and harvested cannabis must be protected against theft and from being accessed by children – for example with lockable cupboards and rooms.

Cannabis will still be prohibited on military bases.

Why legalisation now?

As Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert (SPD) says, “Cannabis is very widespread, despite the previous ban”.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) emphasises the need to limit risks, especially of contaminated substances on the black market.

What are growers’ associations?

These will be clubs for adults, in which up to 500 members grow cannabis and exchange it with each other for personal consumption.

Each member can consume a maximum of 25 grammes daily and a maximum of 50 grammes monthly.

8- to 21-year-olds can consume 30 grammes monthly with a maximum of ten percent of the active substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The clubs must be organised as non-commercial associations and require a permit, which is valid for a limited period.

The building must not be an apartment and must not have an obvious sign indicating its purpose.

Advertising is taboo and cannabis cannot be consumed on site.

Cultivation areas and warehouses must be secured, and regulations will apply to transport.

Torsten Dietrich, chairman of the 6,000-strong Cannabis Social Club (CSC) in Berlin, says the obtaining permits and the logistics for clubs will be complex will be complex and expensive.

It will be a financial challenge to find somewhere to grow the plants, and securing them will be difficult. Likewise, he told the German press agency on Friday that “it will be hard to maintain the usual black-market prices”.



CSC Berlin is currently planning three “cultivation associations” and aims to have twelve by the end of the year.


Applications for cultivation permits will only be possible from July 1. According to Dietrich, cultivation will therefore not be able to start until the Autumn at the earliest.

German citizens are deeply divided over the measure. While Torsten Dietrich says the new law comes as “an extreme relief for consumers”, a YouGov poll showed that about 47 per cent of the respondents are somewhat or completely in favour, while 42 per cent somewhat or completely reject the idea.

The most Cannabis-tolerant EU countries

Malta currently has the most tolerant laws in the EU, allowing adults to carry up to seven grammes of cannabis and grow up to four plants at home. However, smoking marijuana in public is still prohibited.

Spain allows private consumption of up to 100 grams of cannabis. It is still illegal to consume or possess the drug in public places.

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Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.