GERMANY GOES FROM BEERLAND TO WEEDLAND

BERLIN. “Some German people drink their beer after work. We just want to smoke our weed.”

So says Marcel Ritschel who’s celebrating as Germany – traditionally “beer land” — becomes a more cannabis-friendly country.

Germany has, as of yesterday, partly decriminalised marijuana use.

But police unions are warning of real-world harm. 

The law-change may have come on April Fool’s Day but for them it is no joke.

We meet Marcel Ritschel in the Neustadt area in Dresden, the heart of the city’s alternative scene.

Here, as in other places, it wasn’t hard to find people openly smoking joints even before the rules were relaxed.

That’s one of the arguments behind decriminalisation; millions of people were smoking the stuff anyway.

It will help kill the black market and improve quality control – say supporters.

What are the new rules?

From Yesterday

· Over 18s can possess up to 25g of cannabis in public

· Adults can grow up to three plants, per household

· But people won’t be allowed to smoke joints within sight of schools, sports centres or in “pedestrian zones” between 7:00 and 20:00

From 1 July

· Growers associations or “social clubs” can be established with up to 500 members

· Members must be over 18 and live in Germany

· The clubs can grow and distribute the drug on a strictly not-for-profit basis

· Consuming the drug on site will not be allowed

Mr Ritschel is planning on setting up a growers’ association or “cannabis social club” that will be allowed under the law, from July.

“A gardening club but for hemp,” as he describes it.

“Every gram that goes from the cannabis social club is one gram that’s not on the black market,” he says. “So it’s a win-win situation.”

These places won’t be like the famed Amsterdam-style cannabis coffee shops, which have themselves been hotly debated in the Netherlands.

The not-for-profit clubs in Germany are supposed to be only for people who actually live here, in order to stop a wave of tourists pouring in to enjoy liberal cannabis laws. BBC.

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