Germans split on legalizing cannabis
Controversial bill by Scholz’s left-liberal coalition government to legalize cannabis use sparks mixed reactions
By Mesut Zeyrek
COLOGNE, Germany (AA) - A controversial bill by Germany’s left-liberal coalition government to legalize cannabis has sparked mixed reactions among the German public.
Jutta Bungard, a resident of Cologne, said she is not supporting this legal change, and she has doubts about whether people will act in a responsible way.
Bungard said the bill will allow people to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis, but it would be difficult to control this amount.
She also warned that some people may think that cannabis use is now free, and they may want to drive a car after using a small amount.
“Who can assess whether a person has taken 2 or 3 grams, or 5 grams or 10 grams? Well one has to be a doctor to assess this. Making cannabis free is challenging. And they are also making it free to cultivate cannabis. This Is challenging,” she told Anadolu.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s left-liberal coalition government approved a draft legislation on Wednesday, which would legalize the possession and cultivation of cannabis for personal use.
According to the proposed bill, individuals aged 18 and above will be allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis.
The self-cultivation of up to three plants for personal consumption will also be permitted.
The controversial bill requires parliamentary approval to become a law, and it is expected to be discussed at the Bundestag after the summer recess.
- Mixed reactions
A pharmacist in Cologne, who did not want to give his name, has said he is supporting the government’s legal initiative, because the current ban and the restrictions are not working at all.
“It’s not that wrong. Because, first of all, many people are consuming cannabis, and while walking on the streets, one sees that many people already use it in public. If it will be partly legalized, maybe in certain locations, then maybe it will be better, as one can then ensure that toxic substances are not included, and that they are not contaminated,” he said.
According to the government’s proposed bill, non-profit associations, with a maximum of 500 members, will be allowed to grow cannabis and distribute it to members. A member could get a maximum of 50 grams of cannabis per month.
Critics argue that legalization of cannabis would not reduce drug consumption and drug-related crime, but on the contrary, would lead to more drug consumption, especially among the youth, and more people would suffer from addiction.
Torsten, a fan of Cologne's soccer team, expressed anger at the government’s move, and said that the government is acting in an irresponsible manner.
“It must be banned. Of course, one cannot legalize it. Then children will do more and more of it. This is stupidity. I wouldn’t do it,” he said.
- Health minister supports bill
Earlier this week, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach defended the government’s bill, and said that it will be a “turning point” in the national policy to combat drugs.
He said the bill will be more effective in combating the black market, protecting individuals against toxic drugs, and reducing drug-related crime.
Michael Sefenn, who works for an NGO in Cologne, said he is hopeful that the new legislation will be effective to combat drug-related crime.
“I am grateful for all the new ideas to address the drug consumption, because I am also very directly confronted with this problem, with the drug dealers here in Eigelstein and Ebertplatz,” Sefenn told Anadolu.
“And I believe that it’s unacceptable that some African men here have to earn their money as a small drug dealer, and I hope that this new development, at least experimentally, would bring a change, which maybe a positive one,” he added.
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