Photo via Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil
The head of Germany's national police association has called for the “complete decriminalization of cannabis consumers,” arguing that decades of strict prohibition have been unsuccessful, The Daily Mail reports. "The prohibition of cannabis has historically been arbitrary and until today neither intelligent nor purposeful,” André Schulz, head of the Association of German Detectives (BDK), wrote in the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, according to RT News.
Schulz wrote that 70 percent of drug-related cases in Germany focus on drug users, not dealers or smugglers, adding that cannabis prohibition occupies a massive amount of police resources, while ultimately failing to decrease drug abuse or overall crime. Schulz explained to German newspaper Bild that the current system of prohibition stigmatizes users and can introduce offenders into a life of crime. Instead of continuing the failed war on drugs, Schulz recommended that the country's government should refocus its efforts on promoting responsible drug use and treating addicts, while allowing police to focus on child safety and keeping drug-impaired motorists off the roads.
“In the history of mankind there has never been a society without the use of drugs; this is something that has to be accepted,” Schulz wrote, according to The Daily Mail. “My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.”
Full legalization of cannabis was briefly on the table for Germany last fall, when Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to form a coalition government with other political parties. Coalition leaders were planning to propose a cannabis policy agreement that would legalize the sale of recreational cannabis via licensed pharmacies in the country, but unfortunately coalition talks failed, and the legalization proposal died with it.
In the meantime, Germany has been making progress on the medical cannabis front. Early last year, the country's parliament passed a bill that allowed chronically ill patients to use medical cannabis. The law also made it easier for researchers to conduct studies on the medical benefits and risks of marijuana.
Although a good sign of progress, the medical cannabis program is still fairly restrictive, and German patients are not allowed to grow their own plants. A German court also recently ruled that a German hunter cannot be issued a firearms license due to his medical cannabis use, which may create a precedent forcing Germans to choose between guns or medicine.