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Germany Marijuana Law & Policy

While the consumption of cannabis isn’t a punishable offense in Germany, cultivating and selling are illegal. Germany does allow medically supervised cannabis use.

Current Legislation

According to Germany’s Narcotics Act (BtMG) the cultivation, production, trade, import, export, dispensing, sale and acquisition of cannabis is illegal and considered a punishable offense. German law, however, does not define cannabis drug consumption as a criminal offense. The amount one can possess without prosecution varies across the 16 states. The limit in most states is 6 grams, but in Berlin, the possession limit is 15 grams. Consuming cannabis is considered “self-harm” and not a crime. While police are obliged to report every offense and prosecution is mandatory for the public prosecutor, penal law features special provision that allow public prosecutors to refrain from prosecution. Emphasis in Germany is on “therapy instead of punishment” and often the courts will allow rehabilitation treatment to deduct from the duration of a prison sentence.

The cultivation of industrial hemp is legal in Germany. An amendment to the Narcotics Act offers limited permission of industrial hemp cultivation by registered agricultural establishments. Authorized growers that have obtained special permits can grow the non-psychoactive plant. Purchasing, using and consuming hemp oil is also legal.

Medical Marijuana Laws

On January 19, 2017, Germany’s Parliament voted unanimously to legalize medicinal cannabis. Under the law, which takes effect in March 2017, patients that have obtained a prescription will be able to legally purchase cannabis at their local pharmacy. In instances where it’s found that no other form of treatment has been effective, health insurance providers will be required to cover the costs of cannabis. The new law will also eventually establish rules and regulations to allow for domestic cannabis cultivation by the Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Products (BfArM).

Previously, German citizens were allowed to obtain, possess and consume cannabis for medical purposes by obtaining special permission. Patients were fully responsible for paying for the cannabis themselves. However, according to the BfArM, as of January 2017, only around 1,000 people in a country with a population of 80 million were legally taking medical cannabis.

References:

Country legal profiles. (n.d.). European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Retrieved from http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index5174EN.html?pluginMethod=eldd.countryprofiles&country=DE.

Five things to know about weed in Germany. (2015, April 20). The Local. Retrieved from http://www.thelocal.de/20150420/five-things-to-know-about-weed-in-germany-420-marijuana.

German government to grow marijuana for medical use. (2016, May 4). DW. Retrieved from http://www.dw.com/en/german-government-to-grow-marijuana-for-medical-use/a-19233504.

German parliament legalizes cannabis for medical consumption (January 19, 2017). DW. Retrieved from http://www.dw.com/en/german-parliament-legalizes-cannabis-for-medical-consumption/a-37189942.

  • November 3, 2015
  • Eve Ripley