Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marijuana legalization debate revived in Germany

Germany marijuana legalization push revives debate over drug policy - Washington Times: - Angela Waters:

May 26, 2015 - "A conservative politician who crossed the aisle and has joined the German Green Party’s campaign to legalize marijuana has revived a long-running debate about the drug in Europe’s largest economy.

"Lawmaker Joachim Pfeiffer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, recently co-sponsored legislation that would lift Germany’s ban on marijuana and regulate the drug like alcohol and tobacco — and, supporters say, bring in billions more marks in tax revenue.

"'The current restrictive drug policy failed because, despite the ban, the number of consumers hasn’t dropped,' said Mr. Pfeiffer, who filed his bill with opposition Green Party lawmakers last week. 'More than two million Germans use weed regularly, making it the most commonly used illicit drug'....

"'The Christian Democratic Union has been a cement wall in the way of legislation,” said Georg Wurth, head of the German Hemp Association, a pro-legalization group in Berlin. 'But for the first time we have a CDU politician publicly speaking out for legalization, which is a big step forward. You can assume there are others with similar opinions in the CDU.'

"Currently, Germany has partial decriminalization of marijuana that varies from state to state, with some states maintaining strict prohibitions and others, including liberal Berlin, allowing people to carry as much as 15 grams of pot without prosecution....

"But a poll last year by Stern magazine uncovered a deep reservoir of popular suspicion about easing the country’s pot laws, with 65 percent of Germans polls saying [they] opposed easing laws restricting the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. Fewer than a third — 29 percent — favored legalization, while even in the Green Party only 51 percent said they favored full legalization....

"The pro-business German Free Democratic Party, which was part of Ms. Merkel’s coalition government until 2013, added the regulated distribution of cannabis to the party’s platform this month."

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