Blowing legal in Germany from today, many rules cause confusion

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EPA
Since 1997, an annual ‘Hanfparade’ has taken place in Berlin, advocating for legalization.

NOS Newstoday, 07:50

  • Chiem Balduk

    Correspondent Germany

  • Chiem Balduk

    Correspondent Germany

“The fight was worth it, cannabis will be legal from Easter Monday.” German Minister of Health Lauterbach https://twitter.com/Karl_Lauterbach/status/1771128400658202689 when, after years of discussion, the new cannabis law was approved. As of today, it is allowed to grow, possess and smoke cannabis in Germany.

The green flag is therefore flying among German ‘grow shops’ and marijuana enthusiasts. Opponents, such as opposition parties CDU/CSU and the AfD, are disappointed with the “irresponsible plan”. And the police and the judiciary fear the forest of rules that comes with legalization. “It’s a bureaucratic monster,” the mayor of Berlin complained.

In particular, the question of where smoking is and is not allowed is causing discussion. Through a special one Bubatzkarte (in slang meaning Bubatz cannabis) interested parties can see where they can smoke cannabis. Due to the many exclusion zones near places frequented by minors, large parts of cities turn red.

In addition, states can set additional rules. Take the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where there is a smoking ban in nature reserves from March to November. Smoking is also not allowed in pedestrian zones between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

In the center of Cologne, for example, this is the ‘Bubatzkarte’:

Bubatzkarte.de
In all red areas smoking is not allowed, in gray streets (pedestrian areas) only after 8 p.m.

It leads to a lot of confusion. For example, it happens that you are allowed to smoke on the left side of a street, but not on the right side. Much is also still unclear: smoking is allowed in a beer garden, but does that also mean that smoking cannabis is allowed? And does a public chessboard count as a sports location, where smoking is not allowed?

No joints for Dutch people

This is precisely why the GdP police union fears that officers will end up in “numerous discussions and conflicts with citizens”. The Berlin Minister of Justice fears that officers will have to use a measuring tape to determine whether someone is smoking cannabis legally or illegally.

In addition, the justice system has a lot of work ahead of it: re-weighing an estimated 210,000 drug cases. This concerns convictions for drug possession, which will be canceled as part of legalization. “It will paralyze the judiciary,” fears Justice Minister Badenberg of the state of Berlin.

But according to the responsible minister Lauterbach, the pressure on the police and the judiciary will actually decrease in the longer term. “Minor drug offences” will no longer occur and illegal sales will “decrease by 75 percent”, the federal minister said.

The black market will continue to exist partly for users who are not members of a cannabis club. Consider, for example, foreign tourists, minors or incidental tourists smokers. Only Germans are allowed to become members, so Dutch bachelor parties on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn will continue to depend on illegal dealers for weed and hash.

Cannabis law divides Germany

For the current left-liberal government, the legalization of cannabis is an important moment. It was one of the first points on which the governing parties SPD, Greens and FDP reached agreement when forging a coalition agreement. The conservative CDU/CSU made legalization impossible for years, while these three progressive parties were in favor.

It subsequently became one of the most controversial plans of the Scholz government. Due to criticism from the police, medical associations and lower authorities, but also due to strong opposition. The theme divides Germany: 47 percent of Germans are in favor and 42 percent against the law. That makes it a suitable profiling topic for the opposition.

For example, Bavarian Prime Minister Söder – also leader of the Bavarian Christian Democrats – says that he is going to make life difficult for cannabis users. “If you want to smoke weed, it is better to do so in another state,” he warns. “We are going to apply the law extremely strictly.”

The leader of the national CDU promises to immediately reverse the law as soon as his party returns to power. The next federal elections are scheduled for the fall of 2025 and the Christian Democrats are leading in the polls. The question is therefore how long the estimated 4.5 million cannabis users in Germany can legally smoke their weed and hashish.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Blowing legal Germany today rules confusion

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