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Can Visitors to Germany Use Cannabis Now That Recreational Use is Legal There?

In 2024, Germany legalized the use of marijuana products for recreational use. Does that mean tourists can buy or use cannabis in Germany now?

In April, Germany legalized possession and use of marijuana for non-medical purposes, becoming the largest nation in the European Union to do so.

Other places have also legalized recreational cannabis, but often, each location has its own attitudes about whether they want outsiders to be a part of it. While Las Vegas opens “cannabis lounges” among the tourist diversions of the Strip, Amsterdam, famous as European’s cannabis capital since decriminalization of the substance in 1976, is stepping away from permissiveness by imposing fines for public consumption of marijuana.

And then there’s Germany, which is doing it the German way.

On April 1, it became legal for adults in Germany to possess 25g (about 1 ounce) of marijuana and to grow up to three plants in their homes. In July 2024, when the second stage of the new legislation takes effect, people under 18 will be allowed to join Anbauvereinigungen cannabis growers associations, a kind of monitored club, where they’ll be allowed to purchase marijuana that they didn’t grow themselves.

The Germany Ministry of Health confirmed with Frommer’s that the law has been written to specifically exclude non-citizens. You’re either allowed to grow it yourself as a resident or you’re required to join an Anbauvereinigungen as a resident, but you can’t be a foreigner and do either. There are also prescribed places and times where public cannabis consumption is allowed, even for legal users.

To partake of non-medical cannabis use in Germany, you must be a permanent resident or maintain a semi-permanent, well-established home in Germany. 

When the law was being planned, the European Union objected even to the establishment of licensed cannabis stores in Germany, which led the country to the solution of Anbauvereinigungen, which have private memberships and are not permitted to make a profit.

The new law was intentionally crafted to pertain to personal use. Germans who grow their own pot are not legally allowed to give it to anyone else. 

Several European countries near Germany keep much tighter cannabis controls on the books. Officials from Germany’s next-door neighbor Austria, has expressed discomfort with the Germany’s new permissiveness and warns travelers that it is rigorously watching the border for pot possession.

So for travelers who thought they’d be able to get a little higher than the German Alps, the definitive answer is no. The new cannabis laws were written to keep you sober and to prevent marijuana from becoming a big business in Germany.

The first two stages of Germany’s new law are being treated as a trial period, so it’s always possible that the rules will change with time. But for now, if you want to enliven your German visit with a mood-altering substance, you’ll have to stick to sausages at Oktoberfest.