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Germany has made it legal to have small amounts of cannabis. But the excitement may not last

In Germany, supporters of marijuana legalization smoked joints to celebrate after the country made it legal to have small amounts of cannabis for fun. However, this move has not stopped the discussion about the drug.

FRANKFURT, Germany — Advocates for marijuana in Germany were happy on Monday as the country allowed people to have small amounts of cannabis for fun. However, this change hasn't ended the argument about the drug.

The German Cannabis Association, which worked for the new law, organized a gathering at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the law coming into effect at midnight. Other public events were planned across the country, including one in front of the Cologne cathedral and others in Hamburg, Regensburg, and Dortmund.

Germany is now the third European Union country to legalize cannabis for personal use after Malta and Luxembourg. The government argued that making it legal would reduce illegal trading of the drug, protect against harmful substances, free up police to deal with more serious crimes, and put measures in place to prevent use by minors.

The new law allows adults to have up to 25 grams, or nearly 1 ounce, of marijuana for fun and permits individuals to grow up to three plants at home. Using it is not allowed within 109 yards of a playground or school. This part of the law took effect on Monday.

German residents aged 18 and up will be able to join nonprofit “cannabis clubs” with a maximum of 500 members each from July 1. Individuals can buy a maximum of 50 grams per month, with the limit set at 30 grams for people under 21. Being a member of multiple clubs is not allowed.

The clubs will be funded by membership fees, which will be based on how much marijuana members use.

The law also includes an amnesty process for people who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses that are no longer illegal. Regional authorities are concerned that the legal system will be overwhelmed by thousands of cases.

Over the past 20 years, the general trend in European Union member countries has been to reduce cannabis penalties in different ways, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

This could involve making possession a civil offense, sending offenders to treatment instead of the criminal justice system, or enforcing laws less strictly. In the Netherlands, cannabis is still illegal, but the sale of small amounts in so-called coffee shops is tolerated by the public prosecution service. Several European countries allow medical cannabis under different rules.

But this law might not be the final decision. It was passed by the current coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats, the Greens, and the pro-business Free Democrats, despite opposition from some of Germany’s federal states and the center-right Christian Democrats.

Leader of the Christian Democrats, Friedrich Merz, has promised that his party will reverse the law if it wins the national elections expected in the fall of 2025.

According to the dpa news agency, major garden stores said they will not be selling cannabis plants. The German Medical Association opposed the law, saying it could have serious consequences for the development and future prospects of young people in the country.

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