In more depressing news for everyone living in the UK, the German government has recently proposed plans to make the recreational consumption, cultivation and possession of cannabis entirely legal. The plans outlined could make the German cannabis market the biggest regulated market in the world.
Cannabis would be available for purchase in specialist shops and potentially pharmacies. Personal possession would be capped out at 30 grams, and cultivation to a maximum of three plants.
This proposition comes after health minister Karl Lauterbach was quoted at a news conference as saying “drug policy has to be updated”, and that thus far the cannabis ban has had “no evident success”.
Around four million Germans used cannabis recreationally last year, a quarter of those between the ages of 18 and 24. Lauterbach argued that the proposed legislation would protect young people who are currently consuming cannabis purchased on the black market. Regulation would stop those under the age of 18 from buying cannabis of a certain strength and allow the production of cannabis to be carefully monitored.
With Suella Braverman somehow worming her way back into the Home Secretary role, it is unlikely that the UK will follow suit, even with the overwhelming evidence that legalisation would make consumption of cannabis safer for users. Cannabis policing has failed globally, resulting in high convictions for Black and Asian people in the UK, despite lower rates of cannabis use in those demographics.
I wouldn’t book the plane ticket to Germany just yet, however. The health minister stated in the same conference that if the proposal was to go ahead, it “realistically won’t take effect before 2024”. Sigh.
Progress is slow due to fears that the legislation could interfere with the Schengen Agreement. The agreement, signed by 26 European countries, aims to reduce the trade of illicit drugs across EU countries with open border policies. Because of this Germany first has to prove that it wouldn’t interfere with neighbouring countries’ drug laws.
Hopefully, the new proposal will encourage other European countries to follow suit. As time goes on, the heavy policing of cannabis in the UK feels increasingly antiquated, especially in comparison with other countries such as Canada where cannabis use seems to have had no detrimental effect in the four years since its legalisation.
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