New developments in cannabis policy in Germany


Background Cannabis is by some margin the most commonly used illicit drug in Germany. In all age groups, the substance was consumed by a significantly higher proportion of men and boys than of women and girls. The proportion of those who used the substance several times per month, once/several times per week or daily, is 1.7%, 1.6% and 0.8% respectively. In Germany, there is still a controversial public and political debate on dealing with cannabis use. On the one hand, again and again, particularly psychiatrists and other persons from the medical circuit refer to statements like : "Cannabis smoking makes you stupid, cannabis use promotes psychosis, cannabis use among adolescents inhibits the maturing of the brain”; however, there is also a growing number of physicians, psychiatrists etc. who agree with more liberal approaches in drug policy, and at least since eight years, a vast majority of German citizens support the use of medical cannabis. But a majority of Germans still oppose the legalization of cannabis.

New debate on regulation models The Bundestag (German parliament) is again debating this, although the newly agreed coalition agreement between CDU / CSU and SPD (conservatives and social democrats) does not contain anything on the subject of "cannabis policy". But applications by the opposition parties (Liberals, Left and Green Partx) asked for cannabis pilot projects. Also the social democrats changed their restrictive position (although it is unclear whether they will support the opposition as they are part of the current government). The representatives of the social democrats came to the opinion that the currently practiced prohibition policy has failed and call for a policy to be guided by social realities and to break new ground in drug policy. On the other hand the leading Christian Democrats still arguing, that cannabis use can lead to mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, suicidality, bipolar disorder and psychosis. These social consequences of cannabis should be not negligible. In Germany the resistance against the prohibition policy, namely the cannabis prohibition is growing.These developments will be presented and discussed.



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