The Federal Council today approved the decision of the Bundestag on partial legalization of cannabis, thus allowing its conditional consumption, possession and cultivation by adults.

“The previous cannabis policy had failed,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, referring to the doubling of drug users among children and youth and the doubling of deaths from use. “We couldn’t go on like this. For years I have been against legalization, but studies show that we need a new system,” said the minister and expressed hope that the new legislation would also mean the end of the black market.

From April 1, people over the age of 18 will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use, and it will also be legal to grow up to three plants at home. Cannabis cultivation clubs will also be allowed to form and operate, with up to 500 adult members, but the product produced will only be for personal consumption of up to 50 grams per month. The consumption of cannabis in schools, sports facilities and at a distance of 100 meters from them is prohibited, as well as the consumption on the sidewalk, until 20:00.

The legislation was passed by the Federal Parliament last month, but it was met with strong opposition from both political circles and medical associations. In the Federal Council, however, today only Bavaria, Saarland and Baden-Württemberg voted in favor of the renegotiation, while the rest of the states abstained. A possible process of renegotiation and arbitration between the two bodies would result in delaying the entry into force of the law. Ultimately the law remains as passed and will go into effect as originally planned, on April 1st.