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Recreational cannabis becomes legal in Germany

Cannabis users in Germany have welcomed a new law decriminalising the drug and its usage in the European country.

The law took effect at midnight of Monday, after lawmakers cleared the path for legalisation in March.

Karl Lauterbach, health minister, had advocated for the policy after arguing that the previous drug policy had failed and led to a black market.

Some representatives in the chamber argued about negative consequences of the law and moved a motion to send the bill to a mediation committee to delay its enforcement.

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The motion did not receive enough votes to stop the enforcement.

The new law, however, is not without limits. Adults aged 18 and over will be allowed to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis for their own consumption.

They will also be allowed to store up to 50 grams of the drug at home, as well as keep three plants for home cultivation.

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Public consumption will be allowed, as long as it is not within sight of children or near sports facilities.

The drug will also be prohibited in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.

In addition, from July 1, private clubs with up to 500 members will be allowed to grow cannabis collectively and distribute it to their members.

The law has has been met with some opposition including the police, amid fears of misuse and control problems by German youth.

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Germany is not the first European country to relax cannabis regulation. The use of small quantities of cannabis has long been allowed in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and the Netherlands — countries where some restrictions remain.

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