Medical cannabis has been legalized in Germany since March 2017, but recreational cannabis remains to be a prohibited substance. Because of this, the German police association is calling for the decriminalization of adult-use pot.
André Schulz, head of the Association of German Criminal Officers (BDK), said that the prohibition of cannabis has been seen historically as arbitrary and hasn’t been implemented in an effective and intelligent manner yet.
Instead of focusing largely on repression, drug policy has better opportunities, such as helping consumers and addicts in terms of their welfare, dealing with responsible drug use, and making effective youth protection policies.
Schulz explained that the group, which represents criminal police, favors the complete decriminalization of cannabis. He pointed out that the current system stigmatizes individuals and enables criminal acts.
Moreover, instead of focusing largely on repression, drug policy has better opportunities, such as helping consumers and addicts in terms of their welfare, dealing with responsible drug use, and making effective youth protection policies.
No to driving after consuming weed
Schultz, however, clarified that cannabis should still be off-limits for drivers. Barring motorists from driving while high on weed is mainly for safety reasons.
In Germany, a driver can face penalties only for driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who use cannabis, meanwhile, can have their license confiscated. German courts have yet to come into an agreement as to the quantity of cannabis one can consume before he or she can be considered unfit to take the wheel.
Cannabis in Germany
Early in 2017, Germany’s government passed one of the Europe’s – and the world’s even – most progressive medical cannabis legislation. Not only did it legalize the medical use of cannabis, authorize medical practitioners to prescribe it, and allow the drug to be accessible through more pharmacies, but the law also mandates public health insurance companies to include the costs of cannabis products in their coverage, just as they cover other pharmaceutical prescriptions. Because of this, Germany is the first nation with lawfully mandated insurance coverage for cannabis when used in the treatment of severe health conditions – well, at least in the federal legislative level.
Pursuant to the new law, physicians have the authority to prescribe medical cannabis to patients who are seriously ill, like those who suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea as side effect of chemotherapy, or severe appetite loss. The law did not specify what “seriously ill” really means, but it does authorize doctors to give prescription for medical cannabis when it is of their opinion that the drug could contribute to positive results for the patient.
Patients also need to submit data with regard to their cannabis treatment for the purpose of research, and they can do so anonymously. Meanwhile, pharmacies can fill patient prescriptions for medical cannabis in the form of extract, cannabis oil, or dried bud.
What about recreational marijuana?
Currently, there are no federal proposals to legalize cannabis completely that appears to have sufficient approval from all of the country’s political parties to pass.
The German narcotics law, however, already states that authorities do not really have to prosecute offenders who are caught in possession of cannabis – or any narcotic drug for that matter – as long as it is in “minor amounts” intended for personal consumption, except if the case is “of public interest,” such as when the offender is using the drug in a public school or within view of minors.
For now, the “minor amount” of cannabis any person may possess for personal use without risk of being prosecuted varies across the 16 states. For instance, in Germany’s capital city of Berlin, the rules are much more liberal and the possession of up to 15g of cannabis for personal use, in most cases, does not result to prosecution. Many other states, meanwhile, have a 3g to 5g limit.