Germany legalises cannabis for personal use

Germany legalises cannabis for personal use

After a long, fiery debate on the Bundestag floor, German politicians have passed the country's new cannabis law. Here's what you need to know:

German Bundestag passes law partially legalising cannabis

Members of the German Bundestag have voted to legalise cannabis for personal use, making the federal republic the third European country to do so, following Malta and Luxembourg.

Following a third round of debating, also known as a reading, 407 members of parliament voted in favour of passing the law and 262  voted against it and four abstained.

The new legislation means that from April 1, 2024, onwards, anyone in Germany over the age of 18 will legally be allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants and keep up to 50 grams of cannabis in possession at home. Adults will legally be able to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis on their person in public spaces.

Then, from July 1, Germany will allow Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC), to which people will have to register as members. These clubs are at the heart of the new law and will allow members over 21 years old to purchase up to 50 grams of cannabis per month. CSC members aged between 18 and 21 will only be allowed to purchase cannabis with a maximum THC content of 10 percent, and only up to 30 grams per month.

Now that the legislation has been passed it must be signed into law by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

What will still be forbidden after the cannabis law comes into effect?

Even after the law comes into force, several restrictions surrounding cannabis consumption will remain. Smoking cannabis in pedestrian areas will only be permitted between the hours of 8pm and 7am. 

It will also be forbidden to smoke weed within 100 metres of the entrance to a school or sports facility, and those under 18 who are caught with cannabis will also be obliged to take part in prevention programmes.

German weed law passes despite sharp criticism

Since its genesis, the Ampel coalition’s move to legalise cannabis has been met with criticism from doctors, legal professionals and representatives of Germany’s 16 federal states.

The greatest, consistent opposition has come from the conservative CDU / CSU, who, as with Germany’s new citizenship law, announced that they would vote against the law. This stance was made clear on the Bundestag floor during debates, with CDU politician Tino Sorge saying that the fact that Karl Lauterbach, as Health Minister, was pushing to pass the law, was “the biggest load of rubbish” that he had ever heard.

“That is not an argument,” Lauterbach rebutted, citing that cannabis legalisation in Canada had led to a decrease in consumption among young people. “Every fight against the black market further protects young people," Lauterbach added.

Taking to the podium, Kirsten Kappert-Gonther accused the CDU of ignoring the reality of cannabis consumption in Germany. “It is a puzzle to me [...] that given the fact that children and young people can get their hands on cannabis on many street corners [...] that it should just stay this way. That is absurd. [...] with illegal cannabis, nobody knows how high the THC content is and what it has been cut with [...] often synthetic cannabinoids.” 

Stephen Pilsinger (CDU) later used the debate as an opportunity to condemn the Ampel for wasting everyone's time, arguing that people in Germany had lost faith in the coalition as they had focused on in-fighting rather than concentrating on more important issues.

At the moment, the divide on the Bundestag floor is reflected among the general public when it comes to cannabis legislation. A YouGov poll published on February 23 found that 47 percent of respondents were in favour of the law, while 42 percent said they were only partially in favour or not at all. 11 percent said that they were indifferent.

Thumb image credit: Bernd Leitner Photography /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

Read more



Leave a comment