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Germany’s Parliament Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

Germany’s parliament has officially approved a bill to legalize marijuana nationwide.

Two days after the cannabis legislation was considered by eight committees of the Bundestag, the full body voted 407-226 on final passage on Friday.

The bill—which will make possession and home cultivation legal and authorize social clubs that can distribute marijuana to members—now heads to the Bundesrat, a separate legislative chamber that represents German states, though its members cannot stop the reform from being enacted.

While supporters have said legalization would take effect in April if it’s enacted, there are new questions about that timeline. The Bundesrat may move to refer the legislation to a mediation committee to address criminal justice-related implications of the law, which could mean several months of additional discussion.

The floor vote comes weeks after leaders of Germany’s so-called traffic light coalition government announced that they’d reached a final agreement on the legalization bill, resolving outstanding concerns, primarily from the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who has for months been the government’s lead on the cannabis plan, said ahead of the floor vote that the country is “fundamentally changing our cannabis control policy in order to combat the black market.”

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