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Germany legalises cannabis, but makes it hard to buy

In a groundbreaking move, Germany has become one of the few countries to legalize cannabis for recreational use. This decision marks a significant shift in drug policy within the European Union and has sparked both celebration and controversy across the nation.

The new legislation, passed by the German Parliament after months of debate and deliberation, allows individuals aged 18 and older to possess and consume cannabis for personal use. However, the sale and distribution of cannabis remain tightly regulated, with strict limitations imposed on who can purchase the drug and where it can be obtained.

Under the new law, cannabis can only be sold through licensed dispensaries, which must adhere to stringent guidelines set forth by the government. These dispensaries are subject to rigorous inspections and must meet strict criteria for security, product quality, and customer safety. Additionally, they are prohibited from advertising or promoting cannabis in any way that may appeal to minors or encourage excessive consumption.

One of the most controversial aspects of the legislation is the establishment of a government-run cannabis monopoly. This means that all cannabis sold in Germany must be sourced from state-approved suppliers, effectively excluding independent growers and sellers from the market. Proponents argue that this approach is necessary to ensure the quality and safety of cannabis products, as well as to prevent the illicit market from thriving. However, critics argue that it unfairly limits consumer choice and stifles competition.

In addition to these restrictions, the new law imposes strict limits on the quantity of cannabis that individuals can purchase and possess at any given time. Under the current regulations, adults are allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis per month for personal use. Any amount exceeding this limit is considered illegal and subject to prosecution.

Furthermore, the legislation includes provisions aimed at preventing cannabis use in public spaces and protecting vulnerable populations, such as minors and individuals with a history of substance abuse. Smoking cannabis is prohibited in most public places, including parks, schools, and government buildings. Additionally, the sale of cannabis products to minors is strictly forbidden, with stiff penalties for those found in violation of the law.

While the legalization of cannabis represents a significant step forward in drug policy reform, it has also raised concerns about potential negative consequences. Critics worry that increased access to cannabis could lead to higher rates of substance abuse and addiction, particularly among young people. They also express concern about the potential impact on public health, citing studies linking cannabis use to a range of adverse health outcomes, including cognitive impairment and respiratory problems.

Despite these concerns, supporters of the new law believe that it will ultimately benefit society by reducing the harms associated with prohibition and providing a safer alternative to the illicit market. They argue that regulating cannabis sales will allow the government to implement measures to minimize the potential risks and maximize the benefits of legalization. These measures may include public education campaigns, addiction treatment programs, and strict enforcement of laws prohibiting driving under the influence of cannabis.

Germany's decision to legalize cannabis represents a significant milestone in the global movement toward drug policy reform. While the new law imposes strict regulations on the sale and consumption of cannabis, it also represents a departure from the punitive approach of the past. Only time will tell how effective these measures will be in achieving their goals of reducing harm and promoting public health and safety.

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