German legalization gets underway with first 4/20

Published on April 22, 2024
Fifty grams at home and 25 grams in public became legal on April 1. (Leafly)
Fifty grams at home and 25 grams in public became legal on April 1. (Leafly)

The global cannabis liberation movement took several steps forward this 4/20 with German cannabis legalization. But the specifics look like baby steps up close. 

German smokers and tourists can partake of a more legal relaxed atmosphere that began April 1 countrywide. The country’s leaders have all but stopped adjudicating people for benign cannabis use or possession. But don’t expect stores, or smoky clubs any time soon. Instead, get ready to get cannabis covered by your insurance.

Read along for some takeaways from the first days of German legalization—fresh from the International Cannabis Business Conference.

Watch an Instagram Reel from ICBC Germany

1) German legalization isn’t as liberal as legalization in the States.

“Certainly, there’s excitement about German ‘legalization.’ I put it in air quotes, because many don’t believe it’s full legalization because there is no market set up for consumers to purchase cannabis,” said Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita, who keynoted the first day of the event April 16.

Locals describe “decrimin plus.” You can grow 3 plants at home and social clubs will start, but they’ll be pretty tame at first—no smoking together.

Dream on, Germany
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2) Medical cannabis just won, big-time.

In the two weeks since legalization, the volume of requests for cannabis prescriptions has increased significantly. As stigma falls, patients come out of hiding for their safe and effective botanical drug.

“Medical will be big in Germany,” said Miyashita. “What Germany has going is that ‘medical’ truly means it’s part of the healthcare system, with reimbursement from insurance and distribution through the pharmacies. Doctors will be able to prescribe this broadly.”

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Patients report the compounds in cannabis can help with a variety of conditions.

3) The consumer knowledge gap is real.

Plenty of older folks still think weed is dangerous. Germany is going to be at Day One for questions like ‘What is THC?’, when do edibles kick in?, what’s one ‘dose’ of weed?, ‘what can I use this for?’, and the differences between eating versus vaping.

“I would reiterate the continuous need for educating consumers!” said Miyashita.

4) Germany is the domino

As the economic powerhouse of Europe, German decriminalization will trigger changes in neighboring states and countries. Germany is the heavyweight of the European Union—which has similarities to the United States’ federal government. 

Like New Yorkers going to New Jersey (but legal!), the EU allows frictionless movement between member states, and with it, cultural change. The Czech Republic, for example, has reforms planned.

5) Expect many more details to emerge from the haze

More regulations will come down this summer, promising local restrictions regulations for social growing clubs and flavors of decriminalization. Berlin could see a cannabis golden age. The south of Germany might move slower.

Bottom line: Germany just became a safe spot for pot in Europe

Time to visit their beer fests, and reggae festivals, and sightsee Germany’s multi-thousand-year history—it’s safe for stoners to touchdown in Deutschland. Link up with your peers, and keep the flame of cannabis culture lit. 

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Leafly Staff
Leafly Staff
Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.
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