Germany legalizes use and cultivation of cannabis for personal use

With this law, Germany joins the ranks of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding the use of cannabis, following Malta and Luxembourg in Europe and Uruguay and Canada in America.

On Friday, the German Parliament passed a law that allows people to buy and grow cannabis for their own use, making it one of the most progressive laws in Europe.

The law received 407 votes for and 226 votes against in the German Parliament, a crucial reform for the Government of social democrat Olaf Scholz.

The new law permits people to get up to 25 grams per day for personal use, through regulated cannabis growing clubs, and to have up to three plants at home for their own use, starting from April 1, as reported by the AFP news agency.

However, the law still bans possession and use of the drug for minors under 18 years old.

With this law, Germany joins the ranks of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding the use of cannabis, following Malta and Luxembourg in Europe and Uruguay and Canada in America.

In the Netherlands, a trailblazing country, possession, use and sale of up to five grams of cannabis has been allowed since 1976 in “coffee shops”, a kind of establishment or restaurant, where legal sale and use of cannabis is possible.

Before the vote, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach urged the lawmakers to back the text, saying that “the current situation is not acceptable at all.”

In Germany, cannabis use has risen among young people who buy from the illegal market, without any assurance about the quality of the drug, said Lauterbach, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Scholz’s party.

However, Simone Borchardt, of the conservative CDU party, in opposition, said that the new law will worsen health risks for young people, and claimed that the minister’s arguments were “just empty words.”

Borchardt blamed the three parties in Scholz’s coalition, composed of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP liberals, of “making policies for their ideology and not for the country.”

The law also faced opposition from medical and legal groups.

Germans, meanwhile, seem split on the issue: according to a poll conducted by the consulting firm YouGov, 47% of respondents supported the new legislation and 42% opposed it.

The Government said that the reform will help to fight drug trafficking more effectively, something that the conservatives, the Police unions and some SPD lawmakers denied.

In the world, Uruguay was the first country to legalize its production, distribution and consumption in December 2013. Other Latin American countries legalized the medical use of cannabis: Chile in late 2015, Colombia in 2016, and more recently Argentina and Peru.

In the United States, federal law forbids growing, selling or using marijuana. However, recreational use was legalized in 19 states.

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