Germany legalizes cannabis: what are the new rules?

Germany partially legalized cannabis from today, fulfilling a flagship promise of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition government. However, accessing it will not be easy. Here are the new rules in brief:

April Fools joke?

As of April 1, it is now legal to carry up to 25 grams of dried cannabis for personal use - enough to roll around 80 joints, depending on how much is used. Home cultivation will also be permitted with a limit of three plants per adult and 50 grams of dried cannabis. However, it will remain prohibited to smoke the drug within a radius of 100 meters from schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and public sports facilities. Smoking will also be prohibited in pedestrian areas between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

"Cannabis Clubs"

From July 1, Germany plans to set up regulated cannabis cultivation associations to enable people to obtain the drug legally. These so-called cannabis clubs will have up to 500 members each and will be able to sell a maximum of 50 grams of dried cannabis per month to each member. Adults under 21 will be limited to 30 grams of cannabis per month containing no more than 10 percent of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Meetings and consumption of cannabis in the clubs will not be permitted and membership will be limited to one club at a time.

No tourists

The only legal way to obtain cannabis will be to either grow it at home or obtain it through cannabis clubs, both options limited to people who have resided in Germany for at least six months. The restrictions are intended to allay fears from opposition parties, particularly the conservative CDU-CSU alliance, that the new law could encourage "drug tourism". The government of Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberal Free Democrats initially promised to go further and allow the sale of cannabis in shops, a move that was rejected by the EU. A second law is currently being prepared to test the sale of the drug in shops or pharmacies in certain regions.


The government insists the new law will reduce the health risks associated with cannabis as it tackles the problem of dangerous substances on the black market.

But the law was widely criticized by medical associations and health groups. It also led to complaints from regional authorities tasked with overseeing its implementation. They fear they will be burdened with additional red tape because they will have to overturn convictions and fines already imposed for crimes that are no longer punishable under the new law. Friedrich Merz, the leader of the opposition conservatives, has already warned that if his party returns to power after the 2025 election, it will "immediately repeal the law". /BGNES, AFP