Legal status of marijuana in Germany

Legal status of marijuana in Germany
Steven Voser

Germans are slowly, officially recognizing the medical efficacy of marijuana. Cannabis is still technically illegal in Germany. Be careful.

Germany, the home of beer, sauerkraut and bratwurst is moving into the legalization column. This is significant in many ways. Remember this is also the land that for decades had scientists who swore they had evidence that cannabis caused schizophrenia. The German economy is the healthiest in Europe. Once the market gets going here, it is going to be large.

That said, even for most everyday Germans, change is still stuck on slow. If you want a marijuana-themed vacation on the strictly up and up, go to Holland, just next door. Here, yes, you can find weed pretty easily. No, the authorities won’t lock you up in a medieval castle and torture you.

Germans, in general, are pretty hip to weed. Just don’t do anything too outrageous or break any other rule and you will be fine. Remember, only cross the street when the pedestrian light is green. With or without any weed on ya.


Activists here have both cause to cheer and to focus on more forward action. The laws are changing here, but slowly. At stake for the present is the full integration of medical cannabinoids into the still working national health system.

This is why the medical issue seems to be taking ages to get up and going. Further, German authorities are doing this by the rules, as much as they can. They are following UN mandates.

What does that mean for the average person? You have to be sick to get it in a pharmacy. You have to be also rather well off. As most insurers are still not covering the drug, you may get stuck with a whopping 2,000 plus euro bill for that 100 grams or so of high grade weed. That is enough for a pretty good weed-enabled week (at minimum) in some fancy digs in the country next door.


In a couple of years? You better believe there are going to be recreational shops here. For now? Your weed will be black market. That said, it won’t be all that hard to find, particularly if you are in Berlin. In other places of the country this can be more of a challenge without local contacts.

Word to the wise. Every city with a “hauptbahnhoff” has a drug market right outside it. That means every burg with a train station and a population of at least 10,000. Weed dealers are usually to be found in the general vicinity of most red light districts, which are also always proximate.

Bad news? The cops know this is there too. They are watching it. This is why the best bet for German “coffee shops” is going to be their train stations. But that is a thing to come. In the meantime, do what you have to do.

Prices on the street here are a reasonable 10 euros a gram for hash or pot. Just don’t be too picky about what it is you are buying. This is not, remember, Amsterdam. And for now, the German authorities want you to remember that.


That all depends. If you are relatively clean, do not smell, follow other rules and most importantly, have the right papers, a little cannabis is not going to be the end of the world. The cops basically ignore up to 5 grams everywhere here. More than 15 grams could get you into trouble in lots of places outside of Berlin.

If you do not look like you are going to sell it, however, the worst you are looking at is a fine. Plus losing the stash of course. Even smoking in public, while technically verboten, also depends on where you are. If you are a tourist, don’t.

For all the liberalism here about this issue, remember this. Germans can be sticklers about the rules too. Despite the relative ease with which Montel Williams also got off last summer when caught traveling through Frankfurt airport with his stash, you are probably not a talk show host. Marijuana is no longer federally illegal here, which means you can fly internally in the country with it.

Don’t try this trick outside of German borders, however. This also comes with an extra caveat of course. You have to prove it is for medical use. You do not want to get caught in an airport with your party stash. While you won’t go to jail, you will probably end up being ticketed and lose the supply. At best, you will be dealing with a hassle you honestly do not need.


Yes. This is a country now in the throes of legalization, if only for now on the medical side. Despite the most conservative intimations by authorities, the “medical only” window will only last for, at most five years.

And of course, now that the federal government has also legitimized medical use, there is no way Germans can ignore the tax and jobs discussion much longer and hopefully will see the positive sides of legalization soon.


Who and how to support in the legalization fight here is a question that is also being re-asked in the aftermath of clear steps towards the same this year. Deutsche Hanfverband is a privately owned lobbying organization with a large footprint. There are also starting to be patient self-help groups around the country.

However as of yet, there has yet to be the establishment of a non-profit lobbying organization like NORML. There will be at some point an independent and non-profit industry lobby.

If you want to show your support for the cause as a tourist, Hanf Marches are well attended and fun here. If you live here, you should reach out to your local political party rep for the Greens or Pirates. They should be able to give you the skinny on what’s up, what’s moving and what you should concern yourself with. Plus your local head shop should have a few ideas. There is at least one in every decently sized German town.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser

Steven is a long-time veteran of cannabis journalism, having delved into every aspect of the subject. His particular interests lie in cannabis culture, the emerging science of cannabis, and how it is shaping the legal landscape across the globe.