World Germany legalises cannabis, but makes it hard to buy

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The German parliament has backed a new law to allow the recreational use of cannabis.

Under the law, over-18s in Germany will be allowed to possess substantial amounts of cannabis, but strict rules will make it difficult to buy the drug.

Smoking cannabis in many public spaces will become legal from 1 April.

Possession of up to 25g, equivalent to dozens of strong joints, is to be allowed in public spaces. In private homes the legal limit will be 50g.

Already police in some parts of Germany, such as Berlin, often turn a blind eye to smoking in public, although possession of the drug for recreational use is illegal and can be prosecuted. 

Use of the drug among young people has been soaring for years despite the existing law, says Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who is instigating the reforms.

He wants to undermine the black market, protect smokers from contaminated cannabis and cut revenue streams for organised crime gangs.

But legal cannabis cafes will not suddenly spring up all over the country.

 
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