Is Germany about to decriminalise cannabis possession?

25th August 2021

As the German federal election fast approaches, with the governing parties in trouble, the cannabis question has become one of the hot topics during the campaign – at least the government’s drug czar’s proposition suggests as much.

According to Heraldo, Daniela Ludwig, the head of the German Government for drug issues, has suggested that the possession of a small amount of cannabis should be “justified.”

Reportedly, Ludwig has put forward a proposal that would mean that – up to a maximum of six grams – the possession of the drug would be not considered a crime.

However, she has also stated that setting the limit should be done “carefully” as cannabis policy can “influence on consumer behaviour.”

At the same time, Ms Ludwing stated that the government’s drug policy should be updated as cannabis is “not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin.”

Canex reported that Four of the six parties in the Bundestag are backing a change that would end the prohibition of cannabis as Germany prepares for its next general election – of that four, the governing Union parties (CDU/CSU) were not included.

The Green party and the FDP, the Left Party, and the Social Democrats (SPD) have all announced support for cannabis policy reform, claiming that “present drug strategies based on prohibition are a failure.”

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, drug commissioner Ludwig said: “Deploying the full force of the law against somebody caught for the first time in possession of cannabis is counterproductive.

“Portugal’s policy of decriminalisation, that is moving away from the application of criminal law and towards understanding that what we are seeing are petty offences.

“A real alternative if coupled with binding counselling options.”

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) reports that cannabis use in Germany is at an all-time high – almost one in three adults has tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime while almost one in five young adults uses it at least once a year.

In addition, it has been reported that more than 4 million people use cannabis regularly in the country.

The 2021 German federal election will be held on September 26.

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