German Health Minister discusses next steps for cannabis legalization

On a special episode of Germany’s popular satirical “Heute Show,” Karl Lauterbach admitted to having smoked cannabis and came out personally in favor of legalization - having previously spoken out against it. “It was pleasant, I have to say. It brings back pleasant memories,” the Health Minister said, describing his own experience with smoking cannabis. 

His Heute Show interviewers Fabian Köster and Lutz van der Horst then got a little serious for a second. “But, in the beginning, you were against legalization?” “That’s correct,” Lauterbach responded matter-of-factly. “But the safety and security aspects of legalization have changed in the last years, in my opinion. I’m now for legalization.”

The SPD Health Minister coming out for legalization put an end to some rumors that he was being pushed into it by the socially liberal Free Democrats, who negotiated cannabis legalization as a key part of their coalition agreement with the SDP and Greens to form the three-way “traffic light” government.

Once legalized, Germany could well have one of the most liberal cannabis regimes in Europe. While many European countries have legalized cannabis for medical use, so far, only Malta has legalized it for personal, adult use. People there may have as much as seven grams in their possession and grow four plants.

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