Cannabis Laws in Germany

Cannabis Legalization in Germany: History & Laws

Germany recently made history by becoming the largest country in the European Union to legalize cannabis for recreational use. This landmark decision is a major win for cannabis advocates and consumers in Germany, who have long fought for legal access to the plant. While medicinal cannabis has been legal under strict regulations for years, this new law represents a significant advancement in cannabis policy reform for both medical and recreational users.

Ghost Drops, a strong proponent of cannabis legalization both in the USA and globally, celebrates this progressive step in Germany. Let's delve into the history of cannabis in Germany and examine the latest policy changes and their cultural implications.

The History of Cannabis in Germany

Cannabis has a long and intricate history in Germany, shaped by evolving laws and changing societal views. According to Christian Rätsch's book "Marijuana Medicine: A World Tour of the Healing and Visionary Powers of Cannabis," ancient Central Germans have used cannabis and hemp seeds since around 5500 BCE. This was evidenced by ashes found in a funerary urn in Wilmersdorf, highlighting the cultural significance of cannabis in the region since ancient times.

In the early 20th century, the modern history of cannabis in Germany began with its prohibition under the Opium Act of 1929, driven largely by international pressure and concerns about drug abuse. This initial ban and the classification of cannabis as a narcotic set the stage for decades of strict drug policies.

Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, cultural attitudes toward cannabis started to shift significantly in Germany and around the world. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of counterculture movements in Germany, with cannabis becoming a symbol of rebellion. This cultural shift sparked numerous protests advocating for cannabis legalization, which have continued into the present day.

Medical Cannabis Laws in Germany

In March 2017, Germany took a major step towards cannabis reform by introducing the "Cannabis as Medicine" law. This legal medical program, under strict regulations, allowed seriously ill patients with no therapeutic alternatives to access cannabis. This marked a pivotal moment in Germany's approach to cannabis, acknowledging its therapeutic benefits while maintaining strict regulatory controls. Over the years, the medical cannabis program has expanded, providing access to cannabis-based medicines for patients with conditions like chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

The legalization of medical cannabis was driven by growing recognition of its therapeutic benefits and the need to relieve patients suffering from debilitating conditions. Under the 2017 regulations, patients with qualifying conditions could access various cannabis products, including dried flowers, extracts, and pharmaceutical preparations containing cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Recreational Cannabis Legalization in Germany

Starting July 1st, residents in Germany aged 18 and above will be able to join nonprofit "cannabis clubs," each limited to 500 members. Individuals can purchase up to 25 grams per day or a maximum of 50 grams per month, with a reduced limit of 30 grams for those under 21. Joining multiple clubs will be prohibited, and membership fees, which will vary based on consumption, will cover club expenses.

The new law legalizes possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis for adults. Besides purchasing from registered clubs, individuals will also be allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants at home. Public use of cannabis is now legal but is prohibited within 100 meters of playgrounds or schools.

The legislation includes an amnesty provision, allowing for the review and reversal of sentences for cannabis-related offenses that are no longer illegal. However, the large number of cases requiring reconsideration may lead to long wait times and strain the judicial system. Despite opposition from certain federal states and the center-right Christian Democrats, the law was approved by the coalition government, consisting of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Free Democrats.

When will recreational cannabis be available for purchase in Germany?

Announced on April 1st, legal recreational cannabis will be available for purchase starting July 1st, 2024.

Who can buy cannabis in Germany?

Residents aged 18 and above who are registered members of licensed shops.

Where to buy cannabis in Germany?

German nonprofit cannabis clubs will be capped at 500 private members and will charge membership fees based on consumption.

How to buy cannabis in Germany?

Join a nonprofit cannabis club, pay the associated membership fees, and purchase cannabis legally.

CBD in Berlin and Germany

In Berlin and throughout Germany, CBD products have become increasingly popular, offering consumers a non-intoxicating alternative derived from the cannabis plant. With the legalization of medical cannabis in 2017, CBD products containing low levels of THC (less than 0.2%) became widely available. These products are legal under German law and can be found in various forms, including oils, capsules, edibles, and topical creams, sold in convenience stores, specialized CBD shops, health food stores, pharmacies, and online.

CBD-infused beverages and snacks have also become popular in cafes and wellness establishments throughout Berlin, catering to the city's vibrant and health-conscious community. As demand for CBD continues to grow, Berlin and Germany are likely to see further expansion in the availability and variety of CBD products.

Cannabis Legalization in Europe

Europe is experiencing significant shifts in cannabis legalization, with various countries adopting different regulatory approaches. Germany made headlines in April 2024 by legalizing recreational cannabis, setting a precedent for other nations. This move is part of a broader trend of cannabis reform across the continent.

Malta led the way in 2021, becoming the first EU member state to legalize cannabis for adult use under the Cannabis Reform Act. This law allows individuals to possess up to 7 grams of cannabis in public and grow four plants at home, with purchases facilitated through regulated non-profit cooperatives. Luxembourg followed in June 2023, legalizing personal possession and home cultivation while restricting public consumption and sales.

Switzerland has implemented pilot programs for cannabis legalization, allowing limited regulated supply through selected points of sale in participating regions. These programs aim to gather data on consumption behavior and public health effects. The Netherlands, known for its "coffee shops," launched the Wietexperiment in December 2023, permitting licensed cultivators to supply cannabis to select coffee shops in ten cities, transitioning these establishments towards selling legal, regulated products.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs, cannabis remains the most widely used illicit substance across Europe, with an estimated minimum market value of EUR 11.4 billion. Ongoing legalization efforts present significant economic and cultural opportunities, shifting consumption from illicit to legal channels. As Europe navigates cannabis legalization, policies and regulations will continue to evolve.

Recreational Cannabis is Legal in:

  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Georgia
  • Switzerland (pilot program)
  • The Netherlands (pilot program)

Medical Cannabis is Legal in:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • France
  • Portugal
  • United Kingdom
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Albania
  • Slovenia
  • North Macedonia
  • Plus every country where cannabis is recreationally legal

The Future of Cannabis in Germany

The recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany, effective April 2024, marks a significant milestone in the country's evolving relationship with the plant. This legislative change reflects shifting societal attitudes and presents new opportunities and challenges for the industry and consumers. With legalization, Germany is poised for economic growth, including job creation and tax revenue from the cannabis industry.

Looking ahead, the future of cannabis in Germany promises continued innovation and expansion. Legalization will likely lead to advancements in product quality, variety, and accessibility. As public perception of cannabis evolves and stigma diminishes, broader acceptance of cannabis consumption across Germany and beyond is anticipated.

Worldwide Cannabis Legalization and Ghost Drops

Germany's decision to legalize recreational cannabis is a significant milestone in global cannabis reform. As the largest country in the EU to take this step, Germany's decision is likely to influence other nations to follow suit. This momentum opens new opportunities for companies like Ghost Drops, which advocate for comprehensive cannabis reform. As more countries embrace legalization, Ghost Drops is positioned to expand its global presence, bringing its commitment to quality and innovation to new markets. With each step towards legalization, the vision of a world where cannabis is widely accepted grows closer, and Ghost Drops is ready to lead this transformative journey.