• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Cannabis lovers greet Green legalization plan

Tom Barfield · 4 Mar 2015, 17:45

Published: 04 Mar 2015 17:45 GMT+01:00

“Until now the debate has been based on few hard facts and more vague feelings,” Green drugs policy spokesman and MP Harald Terpe told The Local.

“Now there's a draft law for people to explain why they're for or against it, not just the question of whether there should even be one.”

Terpe argues that the international climate, which has seen several countries reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for possession and use of the drug, means that now is the right time to push for legalization.

Tight controls for legal cannabis

At a press conference in Berlin, Katja Dörner, deputy Green leader in the Bundestag (German parliament), told journalists that the “cannabis control law” would create a system that protected children and young people while decriminalizing adults.

People growing or selling cannabis would be “strictly monitored”, she said, with imports tightly restricted, no distance selling or use of vending machines and no advertising allowed.

“We want to address people's fears, especially parents',” Terpe said. “We want to protect young people, who are in worse danger while there is a black market.”

This being the Green party, the law also includes provisions forbidding the sale of cannabis from genetically modified plants, or any treated with pesticides or other chemicals.

The Greens reckon that a tax of €6-7 per gram of cannabis could also bring in €1-2 billion per year to state coffers, based on current average street prices of €10-12 per gram.

They also hope that their plan will massively reduce the burden on the police and judiciary.

“The prohibitive policy against illegal drugs has failed,” Terpe said. “It criminalizes people over trivial crimes.”

Green politicians have long advocated for legalizing consumption of cannabis, with party leader Cem Özdemir last year appearing with a hemp plant in an 'ice bucket challenge' video.

Slim prospects of becoming law

Pro-legalization campaigners welcomed the Green party's move, although they said that it was unlikely to succeed.

“Politicians are definitely not ready for it, both CDU [Christian Democratic Union] and SPD [Social Democratic Party] will vote against it,” Georg Wurth of the German Hemp Federation (DHV) told The Local.

Germany's two largest parties, currently governing together in a 'grand coalition' of centre-left and centre-right, are unlikely to leapfrog public opinion.

A November poll by infratest dimap on behalf of the DHV showed that only 30 percent of people believed cannabis should be made completely legal, although 80 percent were in favour of legalizing cannabis as a medicine.

Wurth argued that despite the polls, the Greens were taking an important step forward with their proposal.

“It's a worthwhile contribution to the discussion, it's a milestone in the debate as the first detailed draft law,” Wurth said.

Story continues below…

“I think more and more that we're not discussing so much whether cannabis will be legalized as when,” he added.

'Basically legal as a medicine'

Wurth pointed out that just as in the USA in the years leading up to legalization in some states, cannabis is now “basically legal as a medicine in Germany, although it's treated very restrictively.”

Figures released on Wednesday by the Federl Institute for Medicines and Medical Products (BfArM) showed that 382 Germans are currently legally taking cannabis as a painkiller.

A total of 424 licenses have been granted for doctor-supervised medical use of cannabis since a 2005 Supreme Court decision, although 42 of those patients have since died.

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Barfield (tom.barfield@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
No injuries after blast near Bavarian migrant centre
A sign at the Zirndorf migrant centre. Photo: DPA

A suitcase, likely packed with aerosol cans, has blown up near a migrant centre on the outskirts of Nuremberg, causing no injuries, police confirm.

Not your average student digs: 'amazing' plastic bubble
Photo: DPA

Could this wacky experiment be the future of student housing?

Police settle train violence over smelly feet
Not the feet in question. Photo: Caitlin Regan/Flickr

A fellow passenger's foot odour proved too much for one traveller to stomach.

How Berliners are responding to the Bavaria attacks
Photo: DPA

Is fear of terrorism creeping up on the capital?

Munich gunman was far-right racist: media reports
Photo: DPA

According to research by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Munich gunman was proud to have been born on the same day as Hitler and hated Turks and Arabs.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach bomber ‘influenced’ by third person: officials
Photo: DPA

Officials in Bavaria have said that the man who blew himself up in an apparent Islamist attack on Sunday was influenced by an as yet unknown person.

What is the link between the attacks in Germany last week?
Police on guard in Munich. Photo: DPA

And how likely are 'copycat' attacks?

Rights experts call for calm after string of violent attacks
Bavaria has called for soldiers to protect the German border. Photo: DPA

Human rights groups and legal experts are warning the government to react responsibly to the attacks and rampages which have taken place in Germany in recent days.

France church attacker had been arrested in Germany
Photo: DPA

A neighbour described the man as a "ticking time bomb".

Dutch join hunt for German terrorists-turned-outlaws
From left to right: Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: DPA.

Dutch police on Tuesday told people to be on the lookout for three German far-left militants, at large for decades and suspected of a string of recent heists.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
11,129
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd