Legalization: How cannabis works and what you should know about the rules for consumption

From April 2024, adults in Germany will be able to smoke weed legally.

Legalization: How cannabis works and what you should know about the rules for consumption

From April 2024, adults in Germany will be able to smoke weed legally. But you have to stick to a few rules. For example, the consumption and purchase of cannabis remains prohibited for minors. The most important questions and answers for legal smoking weed at a glance.

For example, if we were on alert due to a threatening situation, there is a certain process in the body that calms the nervous system again. The body's own cannabinoids are released. These then dock onto binding sites in the brain, the CB receptors. For example, the heart is instructed to beat more slowly again.

When a person smokes weed, the THC from the joint docks onto these receptors. And not the body's own cannabinoids. The THC disrupts the body's own processes, for example by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters that carry information from one nerve cell to another for no reason. The THC increases the release of the happiness hormone dopamine and makes you feel high. However, the exact effect of consumption depends on the environment, the type of consumption, your own condition and the THC content. Every intoxication is different, informs the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).

The effect of the ingredients in cannabis is unpredictable and very individual. Anyone who smokes a joint can feel euphoric, calm, light and relaxed thanks to this effect. Fear and panic as well as a limited perception of the environment can also occur. Nausea, rapid heartbeat and dizziness can also occur after taking a hit on the joint - even leading to circulatory collapse. Especially people who have little or no experience with cannabis may become nauseous or vomit when consumed.

Cannabis is a drug just like alcohol. Anyone who regularly consumes cannabis can become psychologically and physically dependent.

In children, adolescents and young adults, the brain matures up to the age of 25 and is therefore particularly vulnerable to the physical, psychological and social effects of cannabis use. THC in particular can disrupt brain development, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.

You are allowed to possess and have with you up to 25 grams of cannabis.

Initially there will be no shops selling cannabis. Regulations for the commercial, legal cannabis business are still in the planning phase. The Federal Ministry of Health lists this as Pillar 2 on its website.

But cannabis will be available in cannabis clubs (cultivation associations). These are clubs or cooperatives. Members are allowed to grow there for their own use. Cannabis clubs that want to grow cannabis together and pass it on to other club members need a special permit. But that means: If you no longer want to buy weed from a dealer in the future, you have to be a member of a cannabis club and get it there. However, the regulations will only come into force on July 1, 2024.

Anyone who wants to join a cannabis club must be at least 18 years old and have been resident in Germany for at least six months.

Members of a cannabis club receive a maximum of 25 grams of cannabis per day and a maximum of 50 grams of cannabis per month for their own use. For young members (aged 18 to 21), the maximum monthly delivery amount is 30 grams of cannabis and may not exceed a THC content of ten percent.

Adults who have been resident in Germany for at least six months are allowed to grow up to three cannabis plants for their own consumption. This means: You can only smoke it yourself and not pass it on to anyone else. “An adult person may possess a total of 50 g of dried cannabis for personal consumption at their place of residence,” says the Federal Ministry of Health website.

The neighborhood must not be disturbed by anything, such as the smell. The plants must be stored in a safe place so that children, young people and third parties cannot get to the plants. The Federal Ministry of Health recommends that plants and dried cannabis should be stored in lockable cupboards or rooms.

That's not a good idea. Because that remains a punishable offense for everyone.

Anyone who is prescribed cannabis by a doctor for health reasons will continue to receive it from the pharmacy in return for a prescription. The exact handling of cannabis for medical purposes is regulated in the Medical Cannabis Act and not in the Consumer Cannabis Act.

The purchase and consumption of cannabis remains prohibited for children and young people under the age of 18. Passing on cannabis to minors remains prohibited and is a punishable offense.

In order to strengthen the protection of minors, some penalties are being increased. Selling cannabis to minors is now punishable by at least two years in prison instead of the previous one. In addition, so-called consumption ban zones are to be set up around schools, children's and youth facilities, children's play areas and playgrounds. Anyone smoking a joint must keep a distance of at least 100 meters from the entrance area. No cannabis club is allowed to grow cannabis in these zones. Smoking weed is also not allowed near people under 18 or in pedestrian zones during the day (between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.). In addition, prevention measures and intervention measures for children and young people should be expanded.

Anyone who consumes cannabis is not allowed to drive - that applies today and will continue to apply. This is currently regulated in Section 24a of the Road Traffic Act. This means: Once you reach a certain THC level, you are no longer allowed to drive. According to a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court dated December 21, 2004, this is currently one nanogram of THC per milliliter of blood serum (1 ng/ml). Failure to comply can result in a driver's license being revoked or a prison sentence.

This regulation will remain this way for the time being. The new limit is still being determined at the moment. “Without a limit and adjustments to the law, there will initially be no major changes to driving under the influence of THC,” says Heiner Sothmann from the German Traffic Watch (DVW) to “RND”.

Sources: Road Traffic Act, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Center for Health Education, Federal Center for Health Education drugcom, RND, Federal Constitutional Court decision THC limit value

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