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German police body calls for cannabis legalization

February 5, 2018

The head of the German police trade union BDK has said cannabis prohibition has proven "neither intelligent nor expedient." Andre Schulz has called for better methods to restrict consumption, but one taboo should remain.

Cannabis leaf Düsseldorf
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N. Schmidt

The head of Germany's Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK), a police trade union, announced on Monday the group was in favor of the "complete decriminalization of cannabis consumers."

Speaking to German daily Bild, BDK head Andre Schulz chided the current prohibition laws, saying they created a system that stigmatizes people and "allows criminal careers to start."

"The prohibition of cannabis was, viewed historically, arbitrary," Schulz said, and was "neither intelligent nor expedient."

BDK head Andre Schulz
BDK head Andre Schulz has said Germany's cannabis laws need a radical rethink, and should focus on education and help, rather than persecution.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Schutt

Germany legalized the use of marijuana as a prescription medication last March for select patients, but officials stressed they were not prepared to allow it for non-medicinal purposes.

Schulz stressed on Monday that there were better policies concerning drug use as opposed to restrictions and outright bans. They included education around responsible drug use, providing more help to users and addicts, and establishing a better program to protect children and young people.

However, Schulz said the consumption of marijuana must remain illegal for drivers, as some legal loopholes differentiating between driving under the influence of cannabis to drunk driving remained. Any laws relaxing the use of marijuana needed to be balanced with strict laws on the road. 

Government nixes relaxing rules

Any hopes for cannabis decriminalization were quickly dashed, however, with a spokesman for German Health Minister Hermann Gröhe saying there were no plans to change the current law. Ongoing studies into cannabis use continued to show "significant negative health effects," especially among young people, according to the spokesperson.

Stephan Harbarth, a parliamentarian with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, also warned against loosening the rules on marijuana, telling a German broadcaster that legalization would in no doubt lead to increased consumption. That, in turn, would send a false message that the drug was supposedly harmless.

dm/rt (dpa, epd, AFP)