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Pot decriminalization proposal criticized by German drug commissioner

A proposal from two German parliamentarians about a relaxed stance on cannabis has been met with criticism. Germany's drug commissioner said the country has enough problems with alcohol and tobacco.

In an interview with the "Passauer Neue Presse" newspaper on Thursday, Germany's federal drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler, said a proposal from a fellow member of the CDU/CSU party about

decriminalizing cannabis

was not a good idea.

"We don't need any more legal drugs when we have enough problems with alcohol and tobacco," Mortler said.

The proposal, made Wednesday by Christian Democrat Joachim Pfeiffer and Greens party member Dieter Janecek, posed the question about whether making criminals out of people for possession and purchase of the drug for

recreational purposes

made sense.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) are the majority party in the German Bundestag, together with their sister party from Bavaria, the Christian Socialist Union (CSU). Mortler is a member of the CSU.

Stephan Mayer, another CSU lawmaker, told the newspaper that the proposal would be "a fatal signal for preventing addiction and protecting children."

Janecek and Pfeiffer estimated a state-regulated market for cannabis would bring in up to 2 billion euros ($2.28 billion) in tax revenue, while saving money previously used in prosecuting cannabis consumers.

While the Greens party has long advocated decriminalizing marijuana, having a member of the governing union of the conservative CDU - even just one at this stage - adds a new dimension to the debate. Pfeiffer is also CDU/CSU's economic policy spokesman. This particular early-stage form of written policy proposal for the Bundestag parliament requires support from members of at least two political parties to be submitted.

mz/kms (AFP, dpa)

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