Germany ready to legalize cannabis for personal use

Germany's parliament is expected to partially legalize cannabis on Friday, after a heated debate over the pros and cons of allowing easier access to the drug.

Under the new legislation, which would make Germany the third country in Europe to legalize the drug for personal use, cannabis would be removed from the official list of banned substances. Adults will be allowed to possess 25g at a time, The Guardian reported.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said the new legislation would allow the market to be cleared of drug dealers, who supply many of the estimated 7 million Germans who are regular cannabis users. The government has said that many users rely on the drug for medical reasons, and that the new law would improve the quality of cannabis, consumed by a growing number of young people.

"The protection of children and young people is at the heart of what the law aims to achieve. In recent decades, consumption by children and young people has increased", said Lauterbach before the vote.

According to him, the law would enable the control of drug distribution.

Doctors against changing the law have warned that, on the contrary, the law will endanger the health of young people by making the drug more accessible and thus increasing the risk of addiction.

The tripartite coalition led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, including the Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business FDP, agreed in November to press ahead with the reform, including it in their power-sharing coalition agreement.

Adults will be allowed to grow up to three plants and possess small amounts of cannabis from April 1, and three months later it will also be available at licensed non-profit clubs set up to grow and distribute the cannabis plant.

The consumption of cannabis for people under 18 will continue to be prohibited, until those between 18 and 21 will be allowed to buy up to 30g of cannabis with a maximum THC content of 10%.