If this bill becomes law, Germany will have some of the most liberal marijuana laws in Europe. There is government support now. In this way, Berlin wants to neutralize the black market and fight crimes related to the drug. In parallel, the authorities are planning a campaign under the slogan “Legal but risky”, which will make people aware of the harms of its use.
Marijuana is dangerous – especially for young people. That is why we partially legalize it, explains German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. An adult German will be able to grow up to three cannabis plants at home and possess up to 25 grams of marijuana for personal use. A wide-ranging information campaign, addressed mainly to minors, is to remind about the harmful effects of cannabis. “Any young person will know that if I use marijuana, if I do it regularly, I’m damaging my brain,” Lauterbach said. The German government has adopted a bill to legalize marijuana. The new law will still have to go through parliament. It is due to enter into force by the end of the year.
According to the government in Berlin, this will reduce drug-related crime, relieve the police and courts, and allow for safer consumption of marijuana. However, an avalanche of criticism falls on the author of the new law – the German Minister of Health. The left believes that its solutions are not liberal enough. The right claims they will promote the consumption of marijuana. – The fact that our solution is being attacked from both sides is a good sign. Because much more liberalization, such as in the Netherlands or in some states in America, would lead to increased consumption. That’s what we don’t want. We want to reduce consumption and make it safer,” explains Karl Lauterbach.
Difference of opinion
The German Minister of Health stresses at every turn that the ban on the use of cannabis will continue to apply to minors. Addiction therapists remind that this substance, which affects nerve cells, is particularly dangerous for the maturing brain and, although not physically addictive, has a fatal effect especially on teenagers. – They can’t sleep without marijuana anymore. They have serious problems with sleeping, they have lows and mood swings. They can no longer get out of this depressing hole they are falling into. They are socially disabled, they are no longer able to maintain interpersonal relationships, fulfill their duties – says Sabine Koehler, psychotherapist, psychiatry.
The new law is to give an important role to special associations, the so-called cannabis clubs, associating up to 500 people. Their members will be able to grow marijuana together and distribute it among themselves. – We do not want to talk about legalization, but about decriminalization and regulations regarding cultivation in homes and special clubs. We welcome the removal of marijuana from the Narcotics Act, says Oliver Waack-Juergensen, member of the “High Ground” Cannabis Club in Berlin.
Police trade unions are alarming that controlling cannabis clubs will consume a lot of energy and time, and even bona fide associations can become targets of drug mafias. – All of a sudden, organized crime may start operating under the guise of legal associations to produce cannabis and then sell it illegally. Clear regulations are needed here, warns Dirk Peglow of the Association of German Police Officers.
The sale of marijuana by special clubs is to prevent the emergence of the phenomenon of cannabis tourism known, for example, from the Netherlands. There will be no so-called coffee shops in Germany, only adult registered club members will be able to buy marijuana.
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Main photo source: Reuters