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German Cabinet approves landmark bill to liberalise cannabis use

Traditional German-wide pro-cannabis march
Traditional German-wide pro-cannabis march Copyright JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP or licensors
Copyright JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP or licensors
By Euronews with agencies
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While the bill still needs to be passed by parliament, the decision is seen as a first step towards Germany legalising marijuana.

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Germany’s cabinet approved a controversial groundbreaking bill on Wednesday that will allow adults to buy and possess small amounts of cannabis for recreational use.

The decision, which still has to be passed by parliament, would allow them to possess up to 25 grams and grow a maximum of three plants for their personal use.

They would also be able to buy the drug by joining non-profit “cannabis clubs” which will be allowed to have a maximum of 500 members.

Currently, cannabis can be legally produced and used in the country for limited medical needs.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz hopes the law will curb the black market, protect consumers against contaminated marijuana, and reduce drug-related crime.

“We want to limit consumption and make it safer, especially for children and young people. But we do not want to expand it,” said health minister Karl Lauterbach in a news conference. 

For young people, possession and consumption remain prohibited. Lauterbach said that a key pillar of the plan is a campaign to raise awareness about the risks of using the drug.

Protection of children and young people would be extended, he said, and more education would be provided.

"What we also do is offer preventive measures for those who are caught. And in the case of problematic consumption, the youth welfare offices are even called in so that we don`t let this slide," he added. 

However, there has been fierce opposition to the law.

Opposition parties warned it will encourage the use of the drug and put minors at risk, while a grouping of judges has said it will likely increase rather than decrease the burden on the judicial system.

Lawmakers will debate the bill on their return from summer break on 4 September.

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