Cannabis in Germany

Hanflabyrinth Berlin 2009

Cannabis in Germany is legal for certain limited medical contexts, but illegal for recreational usage, though possession of minor amounts is not always prosecuted.

Medical cannabis[edit]

Dronabinol was rescheduled in 1994 from annex I to annex II of the Narcotics Law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz) in order to ease research; in 1998 dronabinol was rescheduled from annex II to annex III and since then has been available by prescription.[1] whereas Δ9-THC is still listed in annex I.[2] Manufacturing instructions for dronabinol containing compendial formulations are described in the Neues Rezeptur-Formularium.[3]

Although Δ9-THC is still listed in annex I,[4] in a few cases, patients have been able to obtain from the federal drug authority a special permit to import natural cannabis through a pharmacy. Manufacturing instructions for dronabinol containing compendial formulations are described in the Neues Rezeptur-Formularium.[3]

In February 2008, seven German patients were legally being treated with medicinal cannabis, distributed by prescription in pharmacies.[5]

On May 4, 2016 the Cabinet of Germany approved legislation allowing the use of cannabis for seriously ill patients who have consulted with a doctor and "have no therapeutic alternative". German Health Minister, Hermann Gröhe, presented the legal draft on the legalization of medical cannabis to the cabinet which took effect on March 10, 2017. Licenses will be given by "Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices" to companies for growing medical cannabis.[6][7][8][9][10] As of March 2017, the seriously ill can obtain cannabis with a doctor's prescription, paid for by health insurance.[11]


Cannabis legalization booth in Munich, 2014

The German narcotics law (Betäubungsmittelgesetz) states that authorities are not required to prosecute for the possession of a "minor amount" of any narcotic drug meant for personal consumption, except in cases "of public interest", i.e. consumption in public, in front of minors or within a public school or a state prison.[12] The definition of "minor amount" varies, from up to 6 grams of cannabis in most states to 15 grams in Berlin.[13]

Under German law, the consumption itself of narcotics is not illegal: legally speaking, it is considered as non-punishable self harm. Legal commentaries recognise that it is possible to consume drugs without having bought them first, in a legal sense. This has the practical effect that a positive drug test does not necessarily mean that one has illegally purchased them.[14]

Despite the fact that there is no punishment de jure, consumers can be assessed psychological (MPU) for their driving suitability. Loss of drivers licence is not uncommon, followed by a regime of drug screenings to prove the suitability. Unlike for ethanol, whether one operated a motor vehicle under the influence (or indeed with trace amounts of THC in the bloodstream) is often immaterial.

Hemp Parade[edit]

Stencil graffiti in Aachen

The Hanfparade (English: Hemp Parade) is a hemp legalization demonstration in Berlin. It has taken place each year in August since 1997.

Global Marijuana March[edit]

The Global Marijuana March has taken place in Germany since 2011 and gets coordinated by the Deutscher Hanfverband (German Hemp Association).[15]

Hemp Museum[edit]

The Hanfmuseum was established in Berlin in 1994.

Hemp food[edit]

Non-psychoactive foods made with hemp seeds (less than 0.2% THC) are very common in German health food shops such as Reformhaus. Since the late 2010's, Hemp foods and drinks have become widely available even in normal supermarkets in some cities including Berlin, and health food shops and drug stores like dm and Rossmann have begun selling various CBD products, sometimes including THC-free cannabis.


  1. ^ Grotenhermen, F. (2002). "The Medical use of Cannabis in Germany". Journal of Drug Issues. 32 (2): 607. doi:10.1177/002204260203200218.
  2. ^ "Gesetz über den Verkehr mit Betäubungsmitteln (Betäubungsmittelgesetz – BtMG)" (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b ABDA – Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände (21 April 2008). "Rezepturhinweise: Dronabinol- und Cannabis-Zubereitungen" (PDF). Pharmazeutische Zeitung (in German). Eschborn: Govi-Verlag Pharmazeutischer Verlag GmbH. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  4. ^ "Gesetz über den Verkehr mit Betäubungsmitteln (Betäubungsmittelgesetz – BtMG)" (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  5. ^ "Germany: First Patients to Receive cannabis from the pharmacy". IACM-Bulletin. 15 February 2009.
  6. ^ Berlinger, Joshua. "Germany to legalize medicinal marijuana by 2017". CNN. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Germany to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes". The Telegraph. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  8. ^ Kade, Claudia. "Ab 2017 gibt es Cannabis auf Kassenrezept". Die Welt. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Cannabis als Medizin". Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Cannabis auf Kassenkosten". Tagesschau. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "EMCDDA - Legal text search".
  13. ^ Schuster, Kathleen (10 March 2018). "5 facts about cannabis laws in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Legal Status of Cannabis in Germany – an Overview". Sensi Seeds. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Übersichtsseite: Global Marijuana March" (in German). Deutscher Hanfverband.