Though weed is technically not legal in Germany, it is far ahead of the curve when compared to most European countries. Germany has an impressive history when it comes to the sale, research and production of medicinal cannabis and products. Many areas of the country will often overlook the possession of small amounts too (at least in the first instance). Talk of full legalization has been bandied about the German government for quite some time now. With the massive success of medical cannabis, it looks like Germany may be on their way to removing the prohibition.
- Weed of the Past
- Recreational Weed In Germany
- Medical Weed In Germany
- Germany Weed Laws By State
- The Big German Economy
- Public Opinion
- What’s Next for Germany
Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.
Weed of the Past
As with many countries, weed has been a part of Germany for a very long time. Some estimates say as long as 7,500 years. Archaeologists have found seeds in cave dwellings, and believed it to be a normal part of life as both a medicine and a recreational drug. In fact, cannabis was a normal part of Germany up until the 20th century when prohibition began to kick in. Even after cannabis became illegal, it was still a big player in the little global scuffle known as World War II.
During this time it is no secret that drugs, including cannabis, were widely available to the military. Though the Germans were a little more partial to a touch of methamphetamine, known to be a favorite of the Fuhrer, cannabis was rife in World War II Germany. It was not only used as a medicinal and recreational agent by the Germans, but was often employed as a form of truth serum for captive soldiers, relaxing them enough that they would spill the beans.
A significant amount of hemp was also grown during the war by all sides and is deeply ingrained into Germany’s history. Since the end of the war, cannabis has been prohibited in Germany. At present however it is widely believed that the prohibition is historically arbitrary and that legalization is on the horizon. The times they are a changin’.
Recreational Weed In Germany
Currently in Germany, there is no such thing as recreational weed at the federal level. The closest thing is some lenience likely being shown, provided you’re only caught with a small amount. Across Germany weed is not legal at the federal level however.
Though medicinal cannabis has been a success, the German population is a little while away from full legalization. This is very much a combination of public opinion and the infancy of the current medicinal laws. But as medical marijuana becomes a greater success the population and the politicians can have a chance to get used to marijuana as a medicine instead of an illegal substance.
Medical Weed In Germany
In January 2017 medical cannabis was legalized in Germany, which is always an excellent first step towards full legalization. Seriously ill patients now have access to legal medicinal weed. This includes those suffering from multiple sclerosis, loss of appetite or nausea from chemotherapy, and chronic pain.
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Since the new law was passed, the definition of seriously ill has been debatable. This has given way to a much larger scope of patient access to medicine without having to pay for it themselves. Since 2017, the consumption rates of medical cannabis have skyrocketed. This has lead to Germany having the most advanced cannabis sector in Europe.
As of June 2019, 60,000 patients were registered for the use of medical cannabis. In the same year, 60% of medical cannabis users were reimbursed by their insurance companies, making the treatment far more affordable for your average person. There are still some issues with insurance companies being reluctant on paying for medical cannabis, as well as doctors prescribing it. Nothing exposure and time can’t fix though.
Germany Weed Laws By State
In all of Germany, people caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis might not be fined or prosecuted. Given this goes against federal law, the possibility does still exist however. In the lion’s share of Germany, the most that can be carried that’s considered a small amount is 6 grams. However, in some states that amount goes up to 10 grams.
In what is widely known to tourists as the weed capital of Germany, Berlin allows up to 15 grams to be carried without legal repercussions. This allowance of recreational cannabis is certainly a key element to the youth public’s acceptance and passion for legalizing cannabis.
State Possession Limits:
|State||Possession Limit||Notable Cities|
|Lower Saxony||6 grams||Hanover|
|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||6 grams||Rostock|
|North Rhine-Westphalia||10 grams||Cologne|
The Big German Economy
Germany is an economic powerhouse in both the EU and the global market. It has the fourth-largest economy in the world and largest in Europe. Currently, Germany is by far the market leader in medical cannabis within Europe. It’s also far ahead of the curve in research and regulation of cannabis-based health care. In 2018 the medical cannabis market was worth an incredible 73.7 million euros and is expected to hit 7.7 billion by 2028. That’s billion with a b.
Public opinion in Germany is a little surprising in the legalization department. Though a number of political parties are for the legalization of recreational marijuana, quite a chunk of the public is against it. When the polls are broken down by age they become significantly more typical.
- 18 to 29: 65.3% support full legalization
- 30 to 39: 53.0%
- 40 to 49: 43.2%
- 50 to 64: 38.7%
- 65 plus: 27.5%
When looking at support for cannabis being completely illegal, the figures are far more consistent. 8% of those aged 50 – 64 think cannabis should be illegal entirely, while 9.6% of those aged 40 – 49 think it should be illegal. The rest of the ages groups were somewhere in between.
Looking at public support from a geography point of view, there is a clear distinction, except for the city state of Berlin. Green represents a state where they most commonly believe cannabis should be legal altogether. Purple represents a state where they most commonly believe cannabis should be legal for medical purposes only.
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Keep in mind that these do not indicate a majority, only the most common level of support from each state. Luckily we didn’t need to use more than two colors, as no states believed it should be illegal altogether, or illegal but without prosecution. You can check out the full survey here.
What’s Next for Germany
Opinion is definitely divided on how close Germany is to fully legal recreational weed. There are quite a few in power who agree with the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. Andre Schulz, head of the Association of German Criminal Officers (the police force), is one of them. Schulz has publicly proclaimed he believes that the current legal system is better at creating and supporting criminal careers than stopping them.
It was also reported in October 2019 that Angela Merkel’s party may be moving towards legalizing recreational cannabis for adults in Germany. This would give the government control, ensuring its quality and allowing it to support the German economy. Currently these are just talks, but every policy change needs to start with a conversation. So what is next for Germany? I couldn’t possibly say, as last night I dropped lasagna on my crystal ball, but things are definitely looking positive.