LEGAL STATUS OF CANNABIS IN GERMANY
1. Consumption and possession
Cannabis use is not forbidden, but everything you have to do to consume (buy, possess etc.) is. For consumers with small amounts there is the possibility to avoid prosecution. The definition of a small amount is very different in the German regions – from almost nothing up to 30 grams of cannabis (in Schleswig Holstein). However, changes are expected soon which will lead to a uniform standard of 6 grams in the entire country.
The intensity of law enforcement differs per region – Bavaria is worst.
Possession of more than a small amount for personal use: fine or prison up to five years. For more than 7,5 g THC-content: minimum 1 year prison. Medical cannabis is practically impossible in Germany. There are only pure THC-products on the market – very expensive. The Highest Court has decided that the state has to give out permissions to ill people to posess cannabis. They made so stupid requirements that nobody got this permission till now. But there have been 2-3 court-decisions allowing 2-3 persons to possess/grow cannabis for medical reasons. If that is it all or becomes a trend we have to see in the next years.
Is forbidden, too. There is no regulation to tolerate it, but they usually use the same “small amounts” to close a case as with possession. That means almost every grower comes to a judge. The punishment is fine or prison up to five years. For more than 7,5 g THC-content minimum 1 year prison.
Fine or prison up to five years. For more than 7,5 g THC-contend minimum 1 year prison. To make it more complicated the punishment in all segments can be less if the case is less “heavy” – and the punishment can be harder if it is considered as “organised crime” (minimum 5 years prison for more than 7,5 g THC).
4. Provision of seeds, tools to produce and consume cannabis with etc
Seeds are forbidden, if they seem to be sold or possessed for illegal cultivation. So there is no legal way to sell or possess seeds for that purpose. Growing and smoking equipment is no problem in Germany. But a grow shop should not tell the people, how to grow cannabis with it.
5. Production and distribution of hemp products
Not a big problem, but very bureaucratic ways of surveillance and narrow THC-levels for hemp- food etc. The people who control for what purpose the cultivation is have no training to see the differences. You can get hemp products in headshops as well as in some supermarkets and health food stores.
Contact for Cannabis Activism in Germany:
Deutscher Hanf Verband, Lettestr. 3, 10437 Berlin, Deutschland, Tel 49-(0)30-44716653, E-mail: Georg WURTH
Hanfparade in Berlin: Demonstration for the legalisation of Cannabis
Hanf-Initiative in Frankfurt am Main
Liberationday (Global Marijuana March) in Potsdam
Cannabislegal, Arguments for realistic drug policy in german
Martin Steldinger, die Hanfplantage
POLICIES ON OTHER DRUGS
Since the beginning of the 1990-ies, harm reduction programmes have been established in Germany. When the coalition of the Social-Democrat and Green Party that made these programmes possible on a regional level came to power in 1998, it was expected that Germany would be the first country to undertake major reforms in drug legislation. This has not been the case however, as the development towards more liberal drug policies seems to have stagnated. The current main German narcotics law was adopted in 1981, following an entire revision of a law of 1971.
Also the 1981 law has been amended several times since then. In German law, drug use as such is not considered as a criminal offence. However, drug possession can be punished, although in 1992, the revision of the law strengthened the prosecutor’s power to drop the case under certain circumstances (in cases of ‘low guiltiness’, which generally prefer to possession of low amounts).
In 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court summoned the regional authorities of the so-called “Länder” to find a common definition of this low amount. In practice, the differences between the 16 Länder are still significant (for instance, amounts considered as “low” vary between 3 and 30 grammes in the different Länder). In the northern part of the country, policies tend to be more liberal than in the South. However, the image is increasingly that of a patchwork, where liberal and conservative positions are held by both Christian-democrat and Social-democrat politicians.
Needle exchange is widespread, as is methadone prescription, although in a more restricted scheme. Germany has been the first country to install consumption rooms, where people can come and use drugs in a safe environment. In the 6 cities where these rooms were established, deaths by overdose have been falling considerably. However, other problems like the use of adulterated heroin or crack cocaine, which is especially on the rise in Germany, cannot be dealt with by this initiative. Health workers have no authority to do any kind of quality control, as it is illegal to hand over an illegal drug to someone.
Heroin distribution trials are taking place in seven German cities (Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Karlsruhe, Bonn, Cologne).
CONTACT FOR DRUG POLICY REFORM:
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