"Not a single puff": Olaf Scholz says he has never smoked cannabis

"Not a single puff": Olaf Scholz says he has never smoked cannabis

With Germany on the brink of partially legalising cannabis in a major policy turnaround, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that he himself has no experience with the stuff. 

Olaf Scholz says he has never used cannabis

In an interview with the German TV stations Sat.1 and ProSieben, Chancellor Scholz of the SPD said that he had never consumed cannabis. Asked if he had ever smoked a joint, the chancellor replied: “No, never.” When pressed, he reiterated: “No, not even a single puff.” 

When questioned about his traffic light coalition government’s plan to legalise cannabis for personal consumption, Scholz said it was a decision he had thought long and hard about, but that he believes “we are doing exactly the right thing with this step that we are taking.” However, he added, “But if someone asks me, should I [smoke cannabis], or shouldn’t I, I would always say: nope.” 

According to an ARD Deutschlandtrend survey, the partial legalisation of cannabis in Germany had been met with a mixed response among German citizens. In the middle and lower age groups, approximately 50 percent are in favour of the plans, whereas among the over-65s it is only one in three. 

Cannabis use rising in Germany

The government’s latest drug report, released last month, found that cannabis use is rising among young people, with 24,1 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds saying they had used the drug in the last 12 months, up from 15,3 percent in 2015. The report also found that cannabis dominates the illegal drug market in Germany, making up 59 percent of all drug trade operations busted by police in 2020. 

While cannabis use is rising, tobacco and alcohol consumption is trending downward in Germany. The number of adults who said they smoke in Germany dropped 5 percentage points from 28,7 to 23,4 percent. 

Last week, the federal cabinet approved a plan to legalise cannabis for private use. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the aim of the move was to “limit consumption and make it safer.” When asked, the health minister said he had used cannabis himself in the past. 

Image credit: Alexandros Michailidis /



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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