If Germany legalizes the possession of marijuana, as a new policy proposal suggested Wednesday, it would become only the second country in Europe to do so, after the small island nation of Malta.
While the possession of a small amount of cannabis remains a crime in other European countries, many governments have decriminalized the offense, removing imprisonment as a possible punishment.
Under Germany’s proposal, unveiled by its government Wednesday, people would be able to possess 20 to 30 grams of weed, and licensed shops and pharmacies would be allowed to sell it. Germans could also grow three cannabis plants per adult at home.
The European Commission has to sign off on the plans before they become law.
Malta, a country of around 500,000 people, legalized the possession of marijuana last year. In Luxembourg, officials have also proposed making it legal to grow and possess a small amount of weed.
The View From The Netherlands
While Amsterdam is known for its liberal culture around marijuana, possession is technically still illegal in the Netherlands.
However, the Dutch government says it has a “policy of toleration” in which coffee shops are allowed to sell cannabis under strict conditions, and people won’t be prosecuted for having up to five grams of cannabis.
The worldwide popularity of Amsterdam’s weed scene prompted the city’s mayor to propose banning tourists from visiting coffee shops this year, citing concerns about the “criminal back door” of the coffee shops and general tourist nuisance, The Guardian reported. The local council struck down that proposal this month.