Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) defended cannabis legalization in Germany during his visit to China. The aim of the regulation, which has been in force since April 1, is to reduce cannabis consumption instead of increasing it by taking it out of a gray area, he said at Tongji University in Shanghai in response to a question from a student who wants to study in Berlin from September and expressed concern about cannabis use there.

The student wanted to know from the Chancellor what he had to consider as a student in Berlin, “if I don’t want to try cannabis at all and don’t want to endanger my own health.” He read that students in Germany were now growing cannabis in apartments. This is not legal in China. “That’s why I’m very worried.”

Scholz said the answer was simple: “Don’t smoke.” He himself is now almost 66 and has “never smoked cannabis”. Scholz countered the impression that everyone in Berlin was now running around with joints: “When you study in Berlin, you can run around all the time and not meet anyone who does something like that.”

Shanghai is the second stop on the Chancellor’s three-day visit to China after Chongqing. On Tuesday we will continue to Beijing for political talks with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang.