In Focus

Medical experts challenge proposed German cannabis legalization


In January 2017, Germany unanimously approved the use of medical marijuana, while recreational use remained illegal

German government’s draft law legalizing the purchase and possession of cannabis for recreational use has met with opposition from a range of groups including the German Medical Association, judicial and law enforcement officials. The bill still needs to be approved by lawmakers in the German parliament

In January 2017, Germany unanimously approved the use of medical marijuana, while recreational use remained illegal.

On August 17, the German Cabinet granted approval for a proposal to relax regulations concerning cannabis, paving the way for the European Union’s most populous country to decriminalize the possession of small quantities and permit individuals from ‘cannabis clubs’ to make recreational purchases of the substance.

The plan permits the distribution of cannabis to members of cannabis clubs who are 18 years or older. Individuals aged 18-21 will have a monthly purchase limit of 30 grams, while adults aged 21 and above can purchase up to 50 grams per month.

In April, Bundesärztekammer (German Medical Association) opposed the draft bill with its President Dr Klaus Reinhardt saying there is no need to legalize cannabis.

“It is shocking that a health minister has to present the legalization of a substance that we know causes organic brain changes, leads to behavioral problems in young people and can trigger dependencies and psychological changes,” he said.

Later in May this year, the German Medical Association referred to a study by the Hamburg Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research. Commissioned by the German Health Minister, the research said that the legalisation of cannabis leads to “the trivialisation of a drug that has been proven to be addictive and can lead to serious developmental damage, especially in adolescents and young adults.” 

“The Federal Minister of Health repeatedly emphasizes that he wants to use scientific evidence as the basis for his political decisions. If that is his claim, he will have to fundamentally rethink his legislative plans for cannabis legalization based on the results of the study he himself commissioned,” the statement added.

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