With over 3 million citizens who smoke cannabis regularly and nearly five times more who have admitted to trying it, Germany looks to be the next focus of marijuana legalization in Europe.
Given the sheer number of Germans who have experience with cannabis, it might seem that the plant is already legal. Unfortunately, responsible consumers of marijuana continue to be criminalized in Germany, setting the stage for a political battle that could see cannabis legalized in the country sooner than most realize.
In order to draw negative attention away from those who consume cannabis responsibly, chairman of the German cannabis association, Georg Würth, has called for the focus to be placed on drug dealers instead.
He mentioned that without the need to meet quality control standards, dealers often feel free to cut the marijuana they sell with dangerous substances such as lead sulfide. Würth explained,
“The problems with diluents have drastically increased over the last few year. Some add sugar and liquid plastic which dries on the weed.”
This can become a particularly dangerous proposition given the popularity of cannabis throughout the country.
As legalization efforts continue to ramp up in Germany, proponents of legal cannabis have teamed up with the top law professors in the country.
In 2013, a legal think tank at the University of Bremen called the “Schildow Circle” brought together 122 criminal law professors who are currently campaigning for marijuana legalization in Germany. Having already won the support of several German political parties, the group’s founder, Lorenz Böllinger, hopes that Social Democrats will join in the near future so that real progress can be made toward reforming the country’s draconian cannabis and narcotic laws.
Proponents are also joined by law enforcement officers and politicians. Hubert Wimber, superintendent with the Münster police, has also publicly extended his support for legalization. Winber stated,
“Criminal prohibition has failed.”
Christian Democrat Joachim Pfeiffer and Green party member Dieter Janecek collaborated with the plans for legalization efforts, and shared their reasoning in a policy proposal to Parliament,
“Each year we spend between one and two billion euros on prosecuting [cannabis] consumers, although it’s really the criminal sector which we should be focusing our efforts on.”
The proposal continued,
“More often, we arrest the witnesses than the offenders, so from that we need to realize that prevention through deterrence doesn’t really work in practice.”
The success of marijuana legalization in the American states of Colorado and Washington has done much to galvanize supporters of legal cannabis in Germany and elsewhere. As the world is already beginning to see, legalizing the substance would not only be economically beneficial, as it would dry up related black markets, but it would also lead to the safe production and distribution of marijuana for the millions of citizens who are already using it responsibly.
photo credit: alliance/dpa