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Despite risks, Germany plans to legalize marijuana for recreational use


Germany’s health minister has confirmed that the government will move forward with its plan to legalize the purchase and possession of marijuana for recreational use despite the health and social risks related with the drug.


Possession of up to 1 ounce of the drug will become legal, and adults will be permitted to buy marijuana from licensed premises across the country, said Karl Lauterbach (SPD) on Wednesday.


For adults over the age of 21, the THC content, the psychedelic component of the drug, will be capped at 15 percent, while for 18 to 21 year olds, it will be capped at 10 percent. In the 1960s, most of the marijuana being smoked had a THC content level of approximately 2 percent, while in the 1990s, this was boosted to around 5 percent. Those over 21 years of age would have legal access to marijuana with THC levels three times the levels typically seen in the 1990s.


All marijuana sold will be required to be produced within Germany, with all imports banned. 


According to reports, the market will be tightly regulated with restrictions on all advertising, and regulations will be introduced to ensure licensed dispensaries are located a sufficient distance away from schools and youth clubs.


Discussing the policy, Lauterbach said that in recent times Germany has had “no tangible success” in the war on drugs. He added that with an increase in addictive behavior among adults, “the trend is going in the wrong direction.”


He tweeted on Wednesday: “Cannabis legalization is necessary if we are to end our unsuccessful fight against drug-related crime. The law will also reduce consumption, particularly among young people. The goal is better health and less consumption.”


Health and mental risks associated with legalizing marijuana


There is, however, considerable opposition already to the plans, from both politicians and pharmacists. “The Drug Commission of German Pharmacists has clearly spoken out against the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes and has warned of the health risks of cannabis consumption,” warned Thomas Preis, head of the North Rhine Pharmacists’ Association.


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