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Germany to unveil bill to legalize pot, reservations arise among lawmakers

A draft bill that would legally allow people to use and grow cannabis is to be put before lawmakers for consideration. But there are many voices opposing the legalization of the drug for recreational purposes

Deutsche Welle Published 16.08.23, 03:18 PM
Germany regularly sees demonstrations in favor of legalizing cannabis

Germany regularly sees demonstrations in favor of legalizing cannabis Deutsche Welle

A controversial draft bill on legalizing the recreational use of the drug cannabis is to be unveiled on Wednesday by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach after it has been discussed by the German Cabinet.

Advocates of legal cannabis use in Germany's coalition government aim to legalize the drug this year but will face resistance from conservative lawmakers.

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What does the draft bill envisage?

The draft law would make it legal for people over 18 to possess up to 25 grams (0.9 ounces) of cannabis and to cultivate up to three plants for personal use.

It also stipulates that the drug can be made available through so-called cannabis clubs.

However, under the law, no cannabis products would be allowed to be used in the clubs themselves or within a 250-meter (820-foot) radius.

Law will require 'cannabis surveillance': SPD lawmaker

Ahead of the bill's unveiling, several lawmakers have expressed their reservations about the proposed law.

Among them is the interior minister of the city-state of Hamburg, Andy Grote, who belongs to the Social Democrats (SPD), the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"If there is something we don't need, then it is this law," Grote told public service broadcaster NDR. "Experiences from other countries show that legalization causes a big rise in consumption, with all its risks and side-effects."

Grote also cast doubt on whether the legalization of recreational cannabis use would lead to a reduction in black market trading as is often claimed by advocates of the move.

"It is to be feared that illegal cannabis will be much in demand because of its higher potency and cheaper prices and that the black market and legal market will become mixed up together," he said.

Grote also said the regulation of cannabis use would require "a comprehensive bureaucracy of cannabis surveillance" to ensure that all its stipulations are upheld.

Conservative opposition

Conservative lawmakers from several states have also come out against the proposed law.

The interior minister of the eastern state of Saxony, Armin Schuster, of the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU), told the corporate newsroom Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland that "this law will bring with it a complete loss of control."

Schuster also accused the government of potentially damaging the psychological health of children and young people in particular.

The bill is to be debated by the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, after the summer recess and will likely undergo a number of changes in the process.

The upper house of the parliament, the Bundesrat, will also discuss the bill, although its approval is not required for the law to be passed, according to the Health Ministry.

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