Germany might legalize recreational use of cannabis

Germany’s soon-to-be-elected government has pledged to legalize the recreational use of cannabis and push for its phase out by 2025.

An original SPD-Greens coalition agreement circulated last week and reviewed by The New York Times shows plans to create a task force to pursue liberalization of the drug law and study how similar policies elsewhere have worked. The government would establish a maximum penalty of two years in prison for drug offenses. It also includes plans to subsidize rehab facilities and create more intensive treatment.

“The clear and progressive position of the coalition partners represents a clear development in German public policy,” Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor and energy minister, said in a statement. “It is good news for those who want to grow their own cannabis but bad news for those who support drug-related crimes.”

Under the German drug policy, marijuana is generally legal for recreational use, with holders of cards from places such as Amsterdam — where such prices are about 100 percent higher than in Germany — permitted to carry up to 500 grams of marijuana, or about 10 joints.

The move is likely to draw opposition from Germany’s Green Party, which has criticized marijuana for many years as an attractive prospect for addicts. Earlier this year, the party called on Germany to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use and to ban those under 18 from using the drug.

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