At some point, Germany’s new government wants to legalize marijuana. The step is part of the coalition agreement signed by the three parties involved. It will help the judicial system, but could have a negative impact on people’s health.
Berlin, December 14th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Berlin, almost everyone seems to be an expert on cannabis and joints. Once the subject comes up, there is no stopping those who just love to inhale their daily ration. They will start two-hour monologues on pot, its positive effects, its ingredients, about medical use, relaxation and what not. Even telling them you are not interested in marijuana whatsoever will not end the speech. Many Berliners seem to be obsessed with cannabis. Life in the city of cities is all about pot, it seems, to quite a few inhabitants.
A Step Further
There is no escaping the smell either. In summer, it comes through open windows, especially in Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Neukölln boroughs. People smoke pot on the street. Any pedestrian behind them will have to inhale some of it. They also smoke it on balconies, and the smell enters other apartments. Cannabis is being glamorized, especially in Berlin.
For years, a legalization has been demanded by consumers and by the parties many of them vote for. Medical use of marijuana is actually legal in Germany already. Since 2017, doctors prescribe it for pain relief. Seriously ill patients benefit from it. But should the legalization go any further? Germany is divided on this one. But the new government, which consists of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the left-wing Greens and the center-right Free Liberals (FDP), wants to go a step further on the legalization.
Pot ‘for Pleasure Purposes’
At this point, consuming marijuana is legal, but owning or selling it is not, in most cases. Offenses may lead to high fines or even jail time of up to five years. But things will change. According to its coalition agreement, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ government wants to allow what it calls “controlled sales to adults for pleasure purposes at licensed shops”. This means juveniles are supposed to be protected in future as well.
There are sort of good arguments for a legalization. For instance, it would help Germany’s police, prosecutors and the courts. Countless proceedings against people who were caught owning cannabis are clogging up the judicial system right now. The proponents of the legalization step the government announced also say it will be easier to control the quality of the marijuana that will be distributed when the whole thing is legal. Even the new Health Minister Karl Lauterbach welcomes the plans. He says some of the Cannabis that was being sold illegally contained Heroin which made consumers addicted quickly.
American Study on Cannabis Use
The proponents might be right, in a way, but so are the opponents. Cannabis is considered an entry drug, after all, which is one reason why some experts are outraged. It can be a danger to its consumers’ nervous system, lead to psychoses, schizophrenia and damage brains. The latter danger specifically affects users up to 20 years of age. The consumption of a lot of pot can also cause respiratory diseases. On top of it all, it affects people’s psycho-motorics and can lead to accidents for that reason.
Studies show that juveniles who consume marijuana on a regular basis drop out of school more often than those who do not. The only good news a recent study from the United States of America includes is that the number of juveniles who consume cannabis has not increased since the drug was legalized in some states. On the other hand, the number of medical emergencies connected to marijuana consumption has increased substantially.
Eatable ‘Hemp Tickets’
Berlin’s many legalization proponents do not seem to be interested in the cons though. In the German capital, pot is about as popular as it was on Californian beaches in the 1960s and 70s. Smoking it is considered cool and chic. Even Berlin’s main public transport provider BVG just jumped on the bandwagon. Since yesterday, and until Friday, the state-owned company is selling ‘Hemp tickets’ in little plastic bags. They can be eaten after being used as actual ’24 hour tickets’. Those who do will likely get high, at least a little.
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