The German Government has given the green light this Wednesday to the bill to legalize the consumption and possession of cannabis, which will make Germany the second country, after Malta, to lift the ban on marijuana. The regulation for the recreational use of this drug will come to Parliament at the beginning of September and it is expected that it will be approved before the end of the year. The Minister of Health, the Social Democrat Karl Lauterbach, has described the plan as a “long-term shift in German drug policy.” “I think we can roll back the black market,” he has said.
The bill provides that those over 18 years of age can purchase a maximum of 25 grams of marijuana (and up to 50 grams per month) through associations created for this purpose, the so-called “marijuana clubs”, of which they must be members and who will have the license for cultivation. The idea is that at first it begins to be applied in certain pilot regions, not in the whole country at the same time, as it appeared in the first draft.
The law is very specific regarding the commercialization of the drug. There will be no free sale of the product in stores, and each consumption and cultivation association or club may accept a maximum of 500 members, who must be of legal age and have their domicile or habitual residence in Germany. Only someone whose “reliability has been proven” will be able to run a club, where consumption will be prohibited, as well as in the immediate vicinity of schools, nurseries and pedestrian areas during the day.
The German government, made up of socialists, greens and liberals, reserves the right to limit the number of clubs, for example, based on population density. Affiliation to several clubs will be prohibited so that consumption limits are not exceeded and those under 21 years of age will only be able to obtain a maximum of 30 grams per month, considering themselves more vulnerable.
At the same time, a large-scale awareness campaign will be launched to alert children and adolescents to the dangers of THC (the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) consumption, and related prevention programs will be expanded. As Lauterbach pointed out, all young people will receive these messages: “If I use cannabis regularly, I am damaging my brain, I will have a greater chance of developing psychotic breaks, I may have non-reversible attention disorders.” In these age groups, Germany is facing an increase in consumption and an increase in crime. As the Minister of Health recalled, 50% of drug-related crimes in the country are linked to cannabis.
The bill states that in marijuana clubs, plants must be grown “collectively” and “for non-commercial purposes” and can only be given to members of the association. The financing of the clubs comes from membership dues. Rooms and grounds in these places must be fenced off and designed to prevent theft. Each club must prepare a guide for the protection of health and youth and designate a person in charge of prevention and addictions who must receive training and attend regular refresher courses.
The bill has been the subject of controversy in Germany, since for cannabis consumer organizations it imposes too strict limits, while the Christian Democratic opposition denounces the “loss of control” that legalization entails. “With its bill, the government agrees to tolerate the risk of dependence and the health hazards that cannabis use implies,” said Tino Sorge, spokesman for health issues for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Last Monday, the digital edition of Der Spiegel released the results of a survey that indicated that 45% of Germans are against the plans of Olaf Scholz’s government: partially legalize marijuana, allow possession and consumption in small quantities, as well as having a limited non-profit production.
Compared to 45% who are against, there are 40% in favor, and 15% undecided. In the age group between 18 and 39 years, close to half are in favor of legalization, while among those over 65 only a third support it.
Supporters of legalization are a clear majority among the voters of The Greens and The Left, while in the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and in the far-right Alternative for Germany there is a clear majority against it.
The German Professional Association of Pediatricians issued a statement along with other youth health care associations “strongly” condemning the plans, alleging that they could encourage cannabis use among young people. Police unions and judges also criticized the legislation for being too bureaucratic, which could add more stress to the judicial system, rather than relieve it.
Health Minister Lauterbach said he welcomed the “controversial debates” sparked by the plans, but noted that critics were not proposing any solutions. “Decriminalizing the drug while imposing a series of restrictions and explaining the dangers of cannabis use will work,” Lauterbach insisted during a press conference in Berlin.
Stagnant regulation in Spain
In Spain, the regulation of marijuana for medicinal purposes is stagnant. Its recreational use is not contemplated. In June of last year, the Congress of Deputies approved a report that asked the Ministry of Health to authorize derivatives of the plant to treat certain diseases. The Government had promised to follow Parliament’s recommendations, which established a highly regulated use of the drug, exclusively for three cases: spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis, some forms of epilepsy, and non-cancer chronic pain (including chronic pain). neuropathic). For these, dispensing was stipulated in hospital pharmacies.
Health had to determine how this regulation was articulated, but the end of the legislature has come before approving a regulation to allow medical cannabis in a year in which there has also been a change of minister: Carolina Darias presented herself as a candidate to the mayor’s office of Las Palmas and was replaced by Jose Manuel Miñones in March. Some 200,000 people could benefit from this consumption, if the experience of other countries with regulations similar to the one proposed in Spain, such as Israel or Canada, is extrapolated.
#German #Government #approves #bill #regulate #recreational #cannabis