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German police association calls for complete legalization of cannabis

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German police association calls for complete legalization of cannabis
Photo: DPA
09:53 CET+01:00
The Association of German Criminal Officers (BDK) has spoken out in favour of ending the ban on cannabis and has called for the decriminalization of all use of the drug.

"The prohibition of cannabis has historically been seen as arbitrary and has not yet been implemented in an intelligent and effective manner,” the head of BDK, André Schulz, told Bild newspaper on Monday.

“In the history of mankind there has never been a society without the use of drugs; this is something that has to be accepted,” he added.

“My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.‎”

The BDK therefore advocates a "complete decriminalization of cannabis use," Schulz said, adding that the current legal system is stigmatizing people and promoting criminal careers.

Rather than focus largely on repression, according to Schulz, there are better opportunities in drug policy such as learning to deal with responsible drug use, helping consumers and addicts with aspects of welfare and making effective child and youth protection possible.

For motorists, however, smoking cannabis must remain taboo, Schulz said, stating that for safety reasons, driving vehicles must not take place in an alcoholic or otherwise intoxicated state.

But presently for motorists there are still some “uncertainties and loopholes in the law" concerning the difference between the consumption of cannabis and alcohol, he added.

Whereas a driver in Germany can only be punished for consuming alcohol when one drives, cannabis users can have their licence taken away even if they were not behind the wheel. German courts have yet to come to a consensus on what quantity of cannabis can be consumed before a user can be considered unfit to drive.

Under German law, possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use is generally not criminally prosecuted. The policy varies based on region but the upper limit is usually between 10 and 15 grammes.

Prior to the legalization of medical marijuana in March, only about 1,000 people in Germany had permission to use the drug for special medical purposes. The draft bill for its approval had estimated that 700 patients per year would require prescription. When the law was drafted, how many patients would make use of it was not known.

Then ten months after legalization of the drug, in January this year, a survey with three health insurance companies - Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK), Barmer and Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) - found that more patients than expected had applied for it; over 13,000 applications had been submitted.

Meanwhile a survey conducted in November found that over half of German citizens - 63 percent - are opposed to the legalization of marijuana. 34 percent of Germans believe that adults should be able to purchase cannabis for their own use in specialist shops, the survey released by research institute Forsa moreover revealed.

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