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Bavaria to set up 'control unit' to curb use of cannabis if legalised in Germany

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Bavaria to set up 'control unit' to curb use of cannabis if legalised in Germany
A man smokes a joint at a cannabis legislation protest in Berlin in May. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Already preparing for a possible nationwide legalisation of cannabis in Germany, Bavaria has plans to reduce consumption through its own measures.

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Germany’s coalition government introduced a bill for a partial legalisation of cannabis in mid-August, which is set to be discussed by the Bundesrat on Friday. 

Should the draft law be approved by parliament, a "central control unit” will be set up to "curb the consumption of this dangerous drug and prevent it as far as possible" through strict enforcement within Bavaria, said the Free State’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek said in Munich on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Why is Germany's cannabis draft law so controversial?

However, Holetschek, of the centre-right CSU, did not yet elaborate on how the use of cannabis would be monitored or enforced.

He furthermore said that all possible legal steps should also be taken to oppose the law if it comes into force, "because the Berlin traffic-light government's plan threatens the health of young people in particular".

Decriminalising the use of cannabis also "blatantly endangered" people aged 18 to 21, Holetschek said, pointing to the health risks of cannabis consumption on still-developing brains.

‘Turnaround in drug policy’

The bill would allow adults to possess up to 25 grams (0.9 ounces) of cannabis and grow up to three plants for personal use.

People will also be allowed to join non-profit "cannabis clubs" of up to 500 members where the drug can be legally cultivated and purchased.

READ ALSO: German government okays plans to legalise recreational cannabis

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) deemed the draft law a "turning point in drug policy" and expressed his conviction that it would curb the black market, fight drug-related crime and increase health protection.

On Friday, the Bundesrat will comment on the bill before it can be officially written into German law.

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Bavaria wants to "submit a plenary motion in the state chamber rejecting the bill in its entirety".

If the bill goes through, the government aims to review the societal impact of the new legislation after four years.

The government has also said it plans to follow up with a second phase that would involve trialling the production and sale of cannabis in specialised stores under government licences in selected regions.

Vocabulary

central control unit - (die) zentralle Kontrolleinheit

curb - eindämmen

stop - verhindern

bill/draft law - (der) Gesetzentwurf 

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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