Cannabis use Germany - Who, what and how much?
The legalization of cannabis is on everyone’s lips. Even Germany’s health minister is pushing for it! So far, however, cannabis consumption is still prohibited in this country, cannabis is seen as a drug. This changes little in the consumption, even without previous cannabis legalization, people consume substances from the hemp plant. While CBD (cannabidiol) is legal, marijuana (THC) is considered illegal. But what is the number of users in this country? What do the statistics say?
A look at 2021 - the 12-month prevalence of cannabis in Germany
The German Federal Centre for Health Education looked at the consumption of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco in 2021. The key points show that there is an increase in consumers!
Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17: This age group showed a 3.0% increase in the use of recreational cannabis (2011 = 4.6%, 2021 = 7.6%).
Adults between 18 and 25 years: Since 2010, this age group showed an increase from 12.7% to 25%. Most people in this group use cannabis products once to try and only for personal use.
The study found that around 8.8% of adults have used cannabis once in the last 12 months. The age group between 18 and 64 years was considered.
Cannabis as medicine - the narcotics law does not apply here.
For various diseases, it is now possible to prescribe cannabis in the form of medicine. The law has been in force since 2017 and was published in the Federal Cabinet. Whether pain, cancer treatments or chronic diseases – in the context of medical prescription, cannabis possession is not punishable.
Prescribed are cannabis medicinal flowers and extracts in pharmaceutical quality. These may only be used for personal consumption, the distribution to third parties is punishable!
Penalties for cannabis - this is the German legal situation.
There are different opinions in the country regarding criminal prosecution in Germany. Some assume that small amounts are generally exempt from punishment, while others claim the opposite. But what is true?
Police crime statistics recorded a total of 225,120 criminal proceedings in 2019 for illicit cannabis possession or illegal dispensing. A full 83% of the proceedings dealt exclusively with users! The consequences are sometimes significant. Information that small amounts are waved off with a “wink” by courts is simply wrong. Although it is theoretically possible for the public prosecutor’s office to drop a case because of a small amount, this does not always happen in practice.
It is especially problematic for those who have already used the stimulant cannabis several times without permission. The legal situation provides for harsher penalties for repeat offenders. In other EU countries, the consequences can be even more problematic. Anyone caught with cannabis on vacation must fear legal criminal proceedings.
Important: Even if the case is dropped in court, an entry can be made in the criminal record. In addition, the information will be passed on to the driver’s license office. It goes without saying that, for everyone’s safety, users are not allowed to drive. However, this does not only apply to cannabis, but also to alcohol and other intoxicating substances!
What is own use and what is too much?
There are many questions on the subject of own use and, in fact, federalism is once again asserting itself here. Each state has its own regulations. Between 6 and 15 grams of marijuana is declared as a “small amount”. Anything above that will be prosecuted in any case. Medical cannabis plays an exception here! It may be officially possessed, but is not suitable for delivery to third parties.
Cannabis prohibition before the end - the debate takes shape
The topic of cannabis has been playing an important role in the media for some time now. The federal government is preparing the release of THC. Although cultivation will still not be possible for everyone, adults will be allowed to consume marijuana legally.
Anyone over the age of 18 will be able to purchase the THC, which was formerly declared as a narcotic, in specialist stores. As of October 2022, the upper limit is to be between 20 and 30 grams. There shall be no limit regarding the THC concentration. Those who consume cannabis can therefore also resort to strong products such as real Amnesia Haze and co.
It is being discussed whether private self-cultivation should also be made possible for people. The prerequisite is that young people are denied access to the plant. Each person from the age of 18 should be allowed to grow up to three female cannabis plants per year. This would make it possible to think the actual consumption of cannabis.
The switch from cannabis as a narcotic to a legal substance comes suddenly and is met with approval from most adults. In fact, there have already been studies comparing negative effects of alcohol and cannabis. The hemp products declared as drugs were often able to perform better.
To prevent consequential damage resulting from the use of cannabis, a broad range of counselling services is to be launched with the legalization of cannabis. As of November 2022, it is not yet possible to predict when this will happen.