12:45 GMT19 January 2021
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    Cannabis is illegal in Germany, but punishment for private possession is relatively relaxed, as an individual with "a small amount" of the drug can avoid prosecution. In Hamburg, a small amount is defined as six grams, while in Berlin 15 grams is permitted.

    Germany's drug commissioner Daniela Ludwig has called for a nationwide standard for the amount of cannabis allowed for personal possession, as the current model – with each German state having separate regulations – is “difficult”.

    Ludwig says this discrepancy “naturally attracts” people who want to use drugs to the capital, but "cannabis tourism" wasn’t the kind of attraction “Berlin had envisaged”.

    Ludwig spoke after visiting Berlin's infamous Gorlitzer Park, a renowned drug-dealing centre.

    A member of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU, Ludiwg has been in her role for three months and repeatedly expressed a desire to soften German law on cannabis.

    Drug Laws in Europe

    ​Across Europe, laws around drug possession and usage are ever-slackening. For instance, in Belgium marijuana is decriminalised for over-18s, as long as it’s not smoked in public.

    In Italy, sale and cultivation are harshly penalised, but possession of small amounts for personal use is a mere misdemeanour. The Netherlands is famed for its lax drug laws, but while weed has been legal to smoke in coffee shops for decades, it was illegal to grow until 2017, when a bill to partially legalise marijuana cultivation was adopted by parliament.

    ​Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001, with the maximum penalty for possession of any amount of any drug being a fine, and/or substance-abuse treatment – although weed smokers are only at risk if they’re carrying more than 25 grams at a time.

    In the Czech Republic, possession here is decriminalised for amounts up to 15 grams, while medical usage has been fully legal since 2014. In Estonia, sale and cultivation are prohibited, but personal use of amounts under 7.5 grams will be punished merely by a fine. Kanepi, a small town in the southeast of the country, has adopted a marijuana leaf as its official emblem.

    Some may be surprised to learn the Russian government has decriminalised marijuana possession in amounts up to 6 grams. During the 2018 World Cup, fans entering the country from abroad were permitted to bring their medical marijuana.


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