• Germany edition
Leftists suggest legal cannabis clubs
Photo: DPA

Leftists suggest legal cannabis clubs

Published: 25 Jan 2012 07:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2012 07:00 GMT+01:00

Germany’s socialist Left party is calling an expert hearing on “legalizing cannabis through the introduction of cannabis clubs” in the German parliament on Wednesday. The idea has met widespread rejection.

The Left party’s proposal is to allow Germans to open exclusive cannabis clubs, where members will be able to grow marijuana plants. They also recommend that consumers be allowed to own 30 grams of the drug for personal consumption – double the current limit.

The proposal was put together by Frank Tempel, former director of an anti-drug group that worked with police in the eastern German state of Thuringia.

Tempel, who is now the Left party’s advisor on drug policy, believes there needs to be a sea-change in the state’s attitude to drugs. “A cannabis ban is the legal model that has the least acceptance,” he said.

He estimates that between 3.5 and 4 million Germans consume cannabis, and that the ban has no influence on the decision to take the drug. The German Cannabis Association (DHV) says there are around 100,000 cannabis-related criminal cases every year.

Tempel believes that the ban actually encourages drug abuse, because it curtails public education. He says the state should prioritize prevention, youth protection and controlling the drug market over criminalization, which is why young people would not be allowed in the proposed cannabis clubs.

The Left party proposal also suggests that local health ministries and public order offices would be able to cooperate with the clubs.

The response from Germany’s conservative coalition government has been predictably negative.

“A cannabis club could be understood as an encouragement to drug consumption by young people,” said Karin Maag, parliamentarian for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, drug policy spokesman for the junior coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP), bluntly dismissed the idea as “well-meaning intoxication socialism.”

The centre-left opposition Social Democrats (SPD) also came out against the idea, but said that cannabis laws needed to be unified nationwide. At the moment, each German state has a different legal limit – of between 6 and 15 grams – for personal use.

SPD spokeswoman Angelika Graf called for more a single legal possession limit for the whole country.

But the Left party’s scheme has met no major support. Even the Green party, which favours a limited legalization of cannabis, spoke out against the idea of opening cannabis clubs.

In the face of this broadside, Tempel has revised his goals, saying simply, “The main thing is to move the whole issue forward in society.”

DPA/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:56 January 25, 2012 by mos101392
This is funny,

"¦quot;A cannabis club could be understood as an encouragement to drug consumption by young people,¦quot; said Karin Maag, parliamentarian for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)".

So since alcohol is also a drug, we should ban all bars and the sale of alcohol since it also can be understood as an encouragement to drug consumption. I wonder if anyone has ever taken exctasy or any other drug at a disco or bar ect.

If the statement above is true, then we need to immediately close every bar, club, disco and any other establishment that serves the drug.....alcohol. PLEASE, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN...THERE ARE ENOUGH DRUNKS IN GERMANY ON WELFARE.
09:41 January 25, 2012 by Gaffers
Did I miss something? There is a legal amount we can own and consume or have I completely misunderstood that part?

I agree if alcohol is legal cannabis should be. I have family in the police in the UK and their general (unofficial) stance is to legalise it and reduce the associated issues around policing it so they can focus on crimes that hurt others.
10:18 January 25, 2012 by freechoice
why would anybody wants to get away from reality? it's reality too painful to live for?
10:36 January 25, 2012 by Gaffers
It's not about escaping reality. It is about freedom of choice and it just feels good anyway :-)
11:36 January 25, 2012 by elboertjie
I feel that the point is not whether a certain drug is healthy or unhealthy, although such discussions are very important to assist in making informed personal choices, but rather whether people should make these choices for themselves and that one person¦#39;s choice is not enforced on another person. Just because some people choose to abstain, shouldn¦#39;t mean that alcohol should be outlawed, or just because some people choose to drink alcohol, shouldn¦#39;t mean that everyone should drink it. This can be applied to many other areas in our lives, be it with things we consume, how we spend our money or how we choose to raise our children.

What people do with their own lives should be their own choice and we should all be allowed to have sovereignty over our own thoughts and not be prescribed by any form of governance. If we love and have compassion for people, we allow them to live their own lives whilst at the same time show that we care through showing support, empathy rather than sympathy.

Re marijuana (hemp): it cures many forms of cancer and it is extremely easy to cultivate. This is the primary reason as to why the big pharmaceutical companies have lobbied governments to outlaw it entirely so that they can sell their own ¦#39;medicines¦#39; at high prices.

Here is a brief introduction of only one of the healing properties of marijuana: a Youtube clip: watch?v=0tghUh4ubbg
12:39 January 25, 2012 by pepsionice
First, there are already four million Germans who regulary smoke it....so no one is worried much over the stuff, and you don't even need to start a club....if it already is sold at this level.

Second, weed doesn't cure any cancer. It simply kills the pain associated with cancer or the treatment of the cancer.

Third, if you attempt to make any part of this legal....you need to tax this stuff at 20-25 percent....just like tobacco.
12:58 January 25, 2012 by storymann
The USA drug war is a total failure. There are more drugs on the street now than 20 years ago.

If you take the money out of drugs it will remove the criminality.The big question is will the use increase? According to the Netherlands it will not ( I am only referring to hemp).

There would be no question about taxing the substance, that would surely result.

I have always been an advocate for removing the criminality when it comes to hemp.
13:06 January 25, 2012 by Gaffers
Remove the criminality behind this and tax it (win for the government and loss for the criminal element). You can also control the quality of the product and so make it safer. The major difference between this and alcohol is alcohol has always been taxed and is more socially acceptable. In the UK it is claimed 30% of adults between 21 and 40 have at some point smoked cannabis. So if it would be legal would this number increase? Maybe a little as people try it but long term I doubt it very much.

What I dislike is the hypocrisy of those who claim it is too harmful to legalise but they are the same ones who are happy to drink alcohol. More crime is caused through alcohol then smoking cannabis.

If you believe it is a gateway to harder drugs you are mistaken. I have never tried anything stronger and have no desire to. If someone wants to do coke or crack they will regardless of whether cannabis is legal or not.
13:39 January 25, 2012 by elboertjie

Of course marijuana cures many forms of cancer. You are referring to the usage of it by smoking it, but there are many other ways hemp (marijuana) can be used.

If you have looked at the short clip I referred to, you would have clearly seen it.

If you are interested to know more about this, simply do an internet search for 'marijuana cancer cure'.

Please inform yourself.
14:22 January 25, 2012 by derExDeutsche

Marijuana does cure cancer. The Governments that have made this plant illegal are the real criminals. Of course, the Leftists want to put a 'Sin Tax' on it. Its not a sin, Lefties. Leave it alone if you can't do something positive for 'the People', leave it alone. Its too expensive as it is. Its time to decriminalize
15:43 January 25, 2012 by finanzdoktor
Just out of curiosity, look at the hands in the photograph used for this story. Is there something odd about them? Looks like a bad rash or something. A hidden message????
18:07 January 25, 2012 by Englishted

Well done ,you spotted the hidden message which is :

Wear gloves where gardening or you too will get dirty hands like these.
18:24 January 25, 2012 by jway
American states that have passed medical cannabis laws have seen a 9% drop in alcohol-related traffic fatalities. We can save a LOT of lives here by giving people the right to substitute cannabis for alcohol.

Cannabis has repeatedly been proven to NOT cause cancer, heart disease, brain damage, liver disease, emphysema, or any other significant health issue, and its addiction potential is about on par with coffee. We mustn't wait until a loved one has been harmed by alcohol before demanding that our politicians legalize adult cannabis sales!
20:38 January 25, 2012 by carlm
When drugs are outlawed, only the outlaws will have drugs, dude.
21:16 January 25, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Yeah, let's make a plant forbidden. Forbidden plants.
22:05 January 25, 2012 by finanzdoktor
@Englishted: Thanks. Thought maybe the hidden message was smoking cannabis would give you hands like those in the picture (I wouldn't know about such things, as I have stayed away from it).
23:08 January 25, 2012 by Jimbob_77
Alcohol is responisible for more deaths both accidental and violent than hemp. Big PHARMA and the alcohol industry are demonizing hemp because they have no control over the money. If an individiual wants to smoke instead of drink, so be it. If children want alcohol they will get it. Whatever someone wants they will go after it....Why not tax it like alcohol and legalize it?
23:40 January 25, 2012 by mockbrown

Cannabis is illegal in Germany, but the different federal states tolerate possession of a limited amount (from 6-30 grams) for personal use. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis#Germany
13:03 January 26, 2012 by raandy
They tolerate it up to certain amounts like 10grams here in berlin, if you are stopped and a search results and you have 9.9999 grams they will take it but no criminal charge.
22:28 January 26, 2012 by willowsdad
It's not too bright for cannabis advocates to bash alcohol. Lots more people (including lots of pot smokers) drink and may not be too eager to support a "reversed" situation in which alcohol is demonized and even prohibitied.
00:51 January 28, 2012 by brnskin2010
Nothing wrong with cannibis...all medicine produced come from plants....hemp is another plant that God put on this earth for the health of mankind and because a hand full of people are ignorant to that...they have a tendency to fear what they don't understand......Alcohol is the killer....just sayn
00:04 February 1, 2012 by willowsdad
"Drugs I personally like are good; drugs I don't are bad."
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