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Germany Becomes Largest EU Country to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

Earlier this week, cannabis campaigners in Germany celebrated as the country legalized the recreational use of the drug and its possession in small amounts. The decision, which comes amid objections from law enforcement officers and doctors, makes Germany the third nation in the European Union to legalize marijuana for personal use after Luxembourg and Malta.

The law was approved by the current coalition of the probusiness Free Democrats, the Greens, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ Social Democrats. This is despite opposition from the Christian Democrats and some federal states in the country.

Friedrich Merz, leader of the center-right Christian Democrats, vowed that the party will reverse this decision if it won the national elections next year.

The German Cannabis Association, which championed for the new law, orchestrated a smoke-in at the Brandenburg Gate when the legislation took effect at midnight. Other similar events were scheduled in different parts of Germany, including Dortmund, Regensburg and Hamburg.

In its decision, the government theorized that the drug’s legalization would guard consumers against harmful compounds, weaken the criminal trade of marijuana, and free law enforcement officers so they could pursue more severe crimes. This is all while offering protections against the drug’s use by underaged individuals.

The new law permits adults to cultivate no more than three plants on their own as well as possess almost one ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes. It also forbids the use of the drug within 109 yards (100 meters) of the entrance to a school or playground. Under the new legislation, residents 18 years of age and older will be permitted to join not-for-profit marijuana clubs. Each club will have no more than 500 members, and multiple memberships are forbidden. With regard to costs, membership fees shall be staggered according to the amount of cannabis a member uses.

In addition, adults will be allowed to purchase no more than 50 grams of marijuana a month and a maximum of 25 grams daily. It should be noted that the amount individuals 21 years old and younger can purchase in a month is capped at 30 grams.

Furthermore, the law requests for amnesty under which sentences for offenses related to marijuana will no longer be considered illegal and are to be reviewed and, in some cases, even reversed. This has raised concerns among regional authorities, who are worried that the judicial system will be overloaded by too many cases.

As more countries in the EU bloc consider easing their prohibition of marijuana, established entities such as SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) could find themselves expanding into those newly opened international markets.

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