• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Five things to know about weed in Germany

The Local · 20 Apr 2016, 16:21

Published: 20 Apr 2015 18:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Apr 2016 16:21 GMT+02:00

April 20th has become an unofficial holiday dedicated to smoking weed, which started in the United States and has slowly started to pop up in other countries worldwide

The debate about legalizing cannabis continues - court cases in recent years have granted permission to grow the drug for medical purposes, and leftwing politicians have proposed new legislation in recent months. But what else is there to know about the mystical herb in Germany?

1. Who can smoke?

Cannabis in Germany is illegal, but a few people - most of them people who suffer from terminal cancer - have been granted permission to grow it by the German Ministry for Drugs and Medical devices, .

In the country of 80 million people, just 382 Germans are currently legally taking cannabis as a painkiller, according to figures released recently by the Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Products (BfArM).

A total of 424 licenses have been granted for doctor-supervised medical use of cannabis since a 2005 Supreme Court decision, although 42 of those patients have since died.

Photo: DPA.

2. When will it be legalized?

Green party members presented legislation last month to allow adults to consume cannabis under strict conditions. The Greens reckon that a tax of €6-7 per gram of cannabis could also bring in €1-2 billion per year to state coffers, based on current average street prices of €10-12 per gram.

Still, as Georg Wurth of the German Hemp Federation (DHV) previously told The Local, the country’s two major parties may not quite be ready for such laws.

A November poll by infratest dimap on behalf of the DHV showed that only 30 percent of people believed cannabis should be made completely legal, although 80 percent were in favour of legalizing cannabis as a medicine.

Officials have pushed for expanding access for those with terminal illness, with Federal Drugs Commissioner Marlene Mortler saying in February that seriously sick patients should have access to cannabis through their health insurance provider starting next year.

The Hanfparade for cannabis legalisation in Berlin last year. Photo: DPA.

3. How much can you possess?

The amount that an individual can possess without being prosecuted varies across the 16 states.

In capital city Berlin, the rules are much more liberal, with the possession limit being 15 grams. In most other states, the limit is six grams.

Story continues below…

4. How widespread is marijuana use?

A Eurostat study released last week showed that more German young men smoke weed than young women with roughly 18 percent of men aged between 15 and 24 reporting using cannabis in 2012, compared to a little more than 10 percent of women in that age group.

According to the 2011 World Drug Report, just 4.8 percent of people aged between 18 and 64 reported using marijuana at least once that year.

5. What about German stoner culture?

Before there was ever Harold and Kumar there was Stefan and Kai, the stars of the hilarious 2001 German stoner flick Lammbock about two friends who own a gourmet pizza delivery service as a front for selling marijuana.

The film was something of a hit with critics, and also had moderate success at the box office, taking in €2.2 million Europe-wide.  

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Three quarters of Germans fear terror attack 'soon'
Police guard a football stadium. Photo: DPA

The figure has shot up from 69 percent just two weeks ago.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,799
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd