Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Debate is picking up speed "Cannabis legalization is an overdue matter of course"

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The FDP and the Greens want to legalize cannabis, and SPD health expert Lauterbach is now speaking out in favor of it. Others warn against trivializing the intoxicant.

The debate about legalizing cannabis in Germany is picking up speed. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach spoke out in favor of establishing the legalization of cannabis in a possible coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. In the “Rheinische Post” he advocated allowing controlled distribution to adults in order to put a stop to the trafficking of cannabis mixed with heroin.

“For years I refused to legalize cannabis”, Lauterbach said to the newspaper. In the meantime, as a doctor, I have come to a different conclusion. “More and more often, new types of heroin that can be smoked are added to illegally sold street cannabis.

“This will quickly drive cannabis users into a heroin addiction.” This phenomenon is new and changes the situation. With a legalization of cannabis, the trade in contaminated hashish could be stopped, said the SPD politician. “I am therefore in favor of us formulating a passage on the legal and controlled distribution of cannabis to adults in a possible coalition agreement with the Greens and the FDP.”

The Federal Ministry of Health is still against legalization, as a spokesman for Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) made clear. Cannabis is a dangerous substance, so legalization is not advisable, he said. In certain medical cases, the use of cannabis can help.

Police union representatives warn against legalization. They argue that cannabis is an often played down drug that can lead to significant health problems and social conflicts, especially among young people.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, warned against legalization. He told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “From a medical point of view, the release of cannabis is clearly to be rejected.” There is no medical need to legalize cannabis – beyond the permissible indications. “There may be social or criminal preventive considerations. But they have nothing to do with medicine, they are politically justified.”

The chairman of the Young Liberals, Jens Teutrine, on the other hand, spoke out in favor of decriminalizing cannabis. “The cannabis legalization is an overdue matter of course. Stigmatization, prohibition and criminalization have failed,” wrote the FDP member of the Bundestag on Twitter. At the same time, he made it clear that a traffic light coalition made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP needed more than “legal smoking”. Teutrine mentioned an agenda for social advancement, a BaföG reform, a “grandchildren’s pension” and an increase in the mini job limit.

In the election manifesto of the FDP, a controlled release of cannabis is required: “We are committed to allowing possession and consumption for people of legal age. Only with a sale in licensed shops can the quality be controlled, the transmission of contaminated substances prevented and the protection of minors guaranteed. “

The Green party manifesto says the current cannabis ban is causing more problems than it is solving. “That is why we will remove the ground from the black market and enable the regulated sale of cannabis in licensed specialist shops with a cannabis control law based on strict youth and consumer protection and introduce clear regulations for participation in road traffic.”

The SPD is in favor of testing a regulated distribution of cannabis to adults in model projects by federal states and municipalities. In addition, it should be nationally regulated that the possession of small amounts of cannabis is no longer criminally prosecuted.

Cannabis use among young adults has recently continued to rise. That is one of the results of the annual report submitted last week by the Federal Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig. Among the 18 to 25-year-olds, the proportion of those who stated that they had consumed cannabis at least once in the previous twelve months rose from 15.3 percent to 24.1 percent between 2015 and 2018/19.

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