Germany to legalise cannabis on April 1 after Bundesrat passes law

Germany to legalise cannabis on April 1 after Bundesrat passes law

Members of the German Bundesrat have passed the country’s new cannabis law, putting it on track to come into force on April 1, 2024.

Marijuana legalisation passes in German Bundesrat

Following a 45-minute-long chamber debate, the German Bundesrat, which represents the country’s 16 federal states, has passed the country’s new cannabis law

The vote was the next legislative stage for the law, which had already been voted through the Bundestag on February 23. 407 Bundestag members voted in favour of passing the law, 262 voted against it and four abstained, making Germany the third European country to do so, following Malta and Luxembourg.

Since cannabis legalisation had already been passed by the Bundestag and would not change the country’s Basic Law (Grundgesetz) or federal budget, the Bundesrat could vote against the law and send it to a mediation committee, but not block the law outright.

The cannabis law has garnered sharp criticism since its inception, especially from the conservative CDU / CDU, certain doctors, legal professionals and the police, and some speculated that if it had been sent to a mediation committee, it could have been delayed beyond the next federal election and ultimately scrapped.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach made a final plea to the Bundesrat members before they cast their votes on Friday morning; “We could say, “Let’s not talk about it, we will leave it as it is, maybe something will change soon”, but with this attitude, we have never had success. I was also opposed to cannabis legalisation for many years [...] but I changed my mind because the studies tell a different story”. 

What is set to change with the cannabis law?

The German coalition government hopes that the new law will eliminate the cannabis and synthetic cannabis black market in Germany, lead to a better understanding of the negative health consequences of underage cannabis consumption and better address the realities of drug consumption in Germany, rather than sweeping them under the rug.

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.

Under the new law, there will also be amnesty for anyone who has been charged with cannabis-related crimes within the past year.

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

Thumb image credit: Cristiano Palazzini /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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