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Hanflabyrinth Berlin 2009
Hanflabyrinth Berlin 2009

Cannabis in Germany is legal for certain limited medical contexts, but illegal for recreational usage, though possession of minor amounts is not always prosecuted.

Medical cannabis

Dronabinol was rescheduled in 1994 from annex I to annex II of the Narcotics Law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz) in order to ease research; in 1998 dronabinol was rescheduled from annex II to annex III and since then has been available by prescription.[1] whereas Δ9-THC is still listed in annex I.[2] Manufacturing instructions for dronabinol containing compendial formulations are described in the Neues Rezeptur-Formularium.[3]

Although Δ9-THC is still listed in annex I,[4] in a few cases, patients have been able to obtain from the federal drug authority a special permit to import natural cannabis through a pharmacy. Manufacturing instructions for dronabinol containing compendial formulations are described in the Neues Rezeptur-Formularium.[3]

In February 2008, seven German patients were legally being treated with medicinal cannabis, distributed by prescription in pharmacies.[5]

On 4 May 2016, the Cabinet of Germany approved legislation allowing the use of cannabis for seriously ill patients who have consulted with a doctor and "have no therapeutic alternative". German Health Minister Hermann Gröhe presented the legal draft on the legalization of medical cannabis to the cabinet which took effect on 10 March 2017. Licenses will be given by "Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices" to companies for growing medical cannabis.[6][7][8][9][10] As of March 2017, the seriously ill can obtain cannabis with a doctor's prescription, paid for by health insurance.[11]


Cannabis legalization booth in Munich, 2014
Cannabis legalization booth in Munich, 2014

The German narcotics law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz) states that authorities are not required to prosecute for the possession of a "minor amount" of any narcotic drug meant for personal consumption, except in cases "of public interest", i.e. consumption in public, in front of minors or within a public school or a state prison.[12] The definition of "minor amount" varies, from up to 6 grams (0.21 oz) of cannabis in most states to 15 grams (0.53 oz) in Berlin.[13]

Under German law, the consumption itself of narcotics is not illegal: legally speaking, it is considered as non-punishable self-harm. Legal commentaries recognise that it is possible to consume drugs without having bought them first, in a legal sense. This has the practical effect that a positive drug test does not necessarily mean that one has illegally purchased them.[14]

Despite the fact that there is no punishment de jure, consumers can be assessed psychological (MPU) for their driving suitability. Loss of drivers licence is not uncommon, followed by a regime of drug screenings to prove the suitability. Unlike for ethanol, whether one operated a motor vehicle under the influence (or indeed with trace amounts of THC in the bloodstream) is often immaterial.

Hemp Parade

Stencil graffiti in Aachen
Stencil graffiti in Aachen

The Hanfparade (English: Hemp Parade) is a hemp legalization demonstration in Berlin. It has taken place each year in August since 1997.

Global Marijuana March

The Global Marijuana March has taken place in Germany since 2011 and gets coordinated by the Deutscher Hanfverband (German Hemp Association).[15]

Hemp museum

The Hanfmuseum was established in Berlin in 1994.

Hemp food

Non-psychoactive foods made with hemp seeds (less than 0.2% THC) are very common in German health food shops such as Reformhaus. Since the late 2010s, Hemp foods and drinks have become widely available even in normal supermarkets in some cities including Berlin, and health food shops and drug stores like dm and Rossmann have begun selling various CBD products, sometimes including THC-free cannabis.


The Greens, The Left, and the Free Democratic Party want the government to legalise the regulation of cannabis for private consumption. They say that this will help protect adult consumers from buying cannabis laced with other harmful chemicals. They also say that buying cannabis on the black market stigmatises ordinary citizens, preventing them from seeking help if they need it and increasing the chance that they will buy harder drugs. Cannabis shops would eliminate this risk and prevent minors from buying the drug with the implementation of legal minimum age checks for purchase.[16]

2021 German federal election

In the coalition talks between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP that followed the federal election in 2021, the proposal arose within the framework of a government that was to be formed to release cannabis for legal distribution to adults and to sell it in licensed specialist shops in the future.[17][18][19][20][21][22]


  1. ^ Grotenhermen, F. (2002). "The Medical use of Cannabis in Germany". Journal of Drug Issues. 32 (2): 607–634. doi:10.1177/002204260203200218. S2CID 72802616.
  2. ^ "Gesetz über den Verkehr mit Betäubungsmitteln (Betäubungsmittelgesetz – BtMG)" (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b ABDA – Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände (21 April 2008). "Rezepturhinweise: Dronabinol- und Cannabis-Zubereitungen" (PDF). Pharmazeutische Zeitung (in German). Eschborn: Govi-Verlag Pharmazeutischer Verlag GmbH. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Gesetz über den Verkehr mit Betäubungsmitteln (Betäubungsmittelgesetz – BtMG)" (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Germany: First Patients to Receive cannabis from the pharmacy". IACM-Bulletin. 15 February 2009.
  6. ^ Berlinger, Joshua. "Germany to legalize medicinal marijuana by 2017". CNN. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ France-Presse, Agence (3 May 2016). "Germany to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  8. ^ Kade, Claudia (3 May 2016). "Ab 2017 gibt es Cannabis auf Kassenrezept". Die Welt. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Cannabis als Medizin". Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Cannabis auf Kassenkosten". Tagesschau. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Doctors rejoice as Germany kicks off medical marijuana prescriptions". 3 March 2017.
  12. ^ "EMCDDA - Legal text search".
  13. ^ Schuster, Kathleen (10 March 2018). "5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Legal Status of Cannabis in Germany – an Overview". Sensi Seeds. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Übersichtsseite: Global Marijuana March" (in German). Deutscher Hanfverband. 4 April 2014.
  16. ^ Schuster, Kathleen (10 March 2018). "5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany". Deutsche Welle (DW). Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  17. ^ Braneck, Dave (10 November 2021). "Bongs for beer steins? Why Germany might move to legalise cannabis". euronews. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  18. ^ Daly, Max (24 November 2021). "Next German Government Says It Will Legalise Cannabis". Vice. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Germany: Likely future government supports cannabis legalization". Deutsche Welle (DW). 19 November 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  20. ^ Marsh, Sarah (24 November 2021). "Germany's next government aims to legalise recreational cannabis". Reuters. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  21. ^ Kingsley, Thomas (19 November 2021). "Germany could legalise cannabis in new revenue boosting drug policy move". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  22. ^ "How Germany's next government is planning to legalise cannabis". The Local Germany. 19 November 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2021.