Marijuana in Germany

History of cannabis in Germany

Cannabis has been present in Germany for a long time, probably even before the Germanic time. The traces of the plant go as far as 7500 years back to the neolithic era. Just as in many other countries in Europe, hemp was also used in Germany to produce products of everyday life but then and now it was also used to treat illnesses and the famous Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen (*1098, 1179) wrote extensively of the medicinal properties of cannabis e.g. to treat headache. A couple of centuries later, during the Spanish Inquisition that traditional healers were shown and treated as witches. In the 15th century the use of cannabis has become well-established not only as medicine, but also was used as a source of fiber, food, ritual and even recreational enjoyment up to the 20th century.

Legal status of marijuana in Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany is the most populous EU member state, with over 80 million inhabitants. Just as with other central European countries, Germany has a long history of cannabis use; today, cannabis is widely used and readily available in most cities, although its cultivation, sale and use remain illegal. The amount that an individual can possess without being prosecuted varies across the 16 states. In capital city Berlin, the rules are much more liberal, with the possession limit being 15 grams in most cases. In many other states, the limit is six grams. The Drugs Commissioner of Germany adds that “consumers of drugs are not criminals and should be exempt from criminal prosecution.” Only the acquisition of drugs can get you in jail for one month to four years. Germany shares borders with the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, Denmark, all of which have lenient cannabis possession laws and generally progressive policies. As a result, it is almost inevitable that Germany shares in these policies to some extent. Overall, prosecutions for simple cannabis use seldom occur, and rarely result in custodial sentences. Cannabis use is relatively common; approximately three million Germans are regular users. There is also an active cannabis community and a thriving culture of festivals and marches in support of cannabis use and legalisation, such as the famous Hanfparade (Hemp Parade) that takes place in Berlin each August.

Numbers of marijuana in Gemrany

In the country of 81 million people, about 650 patients had been legally granted permission to use medicinal cannabis products from pharmacies as of spring of 2016. Almost a quarter of 15- to 64-year-olds in the EU, approximately 83.2 million adults, are estimated to have tried the drug at least once in their lifetime. Use is higher among young adults, with almost one in eight young adults (aged 15–34 years), or 16.6 million individuals, using cannabis in the last year. However, cross-European estimates mask between- country variations not only in the extent of use (estimates of last-year prevalence of use among young adults range from less than 1 % to over 20 %), but also in trends in use. For example, surveys in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom have shown decreasing or stable trends in reported use while, in contrast, increasing prevalence can be observed in Bulgaria, France and three of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Sweden) (EMCDDA, 2015a). The estimated value of the retail market for cannabis in the EU is over EUR 9.3 billion in 2013, with a likely range of EUR 8.4–12.9 billion. This represents just under two-fifths of the total illicit market in drugs. Our estimates of amounts used suggest that in 2013 about 647 tons of herbal cannabis (range 581–903 tons) and 641 tons of resin (range 573–887 tons) were consumed.
In May 2016 the german Health Minister proposed to formally legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes by 2017 and just recently the German cabinet approved the measure for seriously ill patients who have consulted with a doctor and „have not therapeutic alternative“. With the legalization of cannabis there would be an estimated tax of €6-7 per gram of cannabis so in the end it would bring €1-2 billion per year to state coffers, based on average street prices of €10-12 per gram. Despite the cost, more Germans are trying to get their hands on doctor-supervised marijuana. The industry sold 61.8 kilograms of marijuana in the first half of 2016 compared with 33.8 in the first half of 2015.

Marijuana Start-ups in Germany

The start-up in the germanophone market is the Hanfgarten (hemp garden). Their concept is to sell hemp plants, hemp tea and Cannabidiol and for the future also medicinal cannabis. They have their base in Vienna and are currently crowdfunding their business. Their vision is to provide medicinal cannabis to sick persons who don’t have an alternative treatment. Also they hope that the image of cannabis is changing over the next few years so that their business can even expand more. It is the aim of the founder Andreas Troger to work together with different grow shops, not to treat them as a concurrence.