Germany is the newest country to hop on the legal marijuana train after Joachim Pfeiffer co-sponsored legislation that would lift Germany’s ban on marijuana and regulate the drug like alcohol and tobacco.
Pfeiffer is a conservative politician who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany’s lower house of parliament. Last week, he introduced the bill with Green Party lawmakers and joined that party’s campaign to legalize marijuana.
Pfeiffer said, “The current restrictive drug policy failed because, despite the ban, the number of consumers hasn’t dropped. More than two million Germans use weed regularly, making it the most commonly used illicit drug.”
Germany’s marijuana policy slightly resembles that in the United States
Germany has partially decriminalized marijuana. The country’s marijuana law is similar to the law in the United States in the sense that it varies from state to state. Pfeiffer’s move sent shockwaves throughout Germany because he joined his opposing party’s campaign to legalize marijuana.
“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.”
Not everyone agrees with legal marijuana
Last year, Stern magazine conducted a study which found that 65% of German polls are against legalizing marijuana and 29% are in favor of legalizing marijuana. Only 51% of the Green Party is in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Germany’s federal Drug Commissioner Marlene Mortler said that Germany does not need more legal drugs because the country has enough problems with alcohol and tobacco.
Tom Blickman of the Transnational Institute stated that Germany is not the only European country considering legal marijuana. He said that Pfeiffer’s move is the first step toward full-fledged legalization.
Blickman said, “What you see generally in Europe is a move towards decriminalization of personal possession in certain qualities. In the Netherlands, everything is prohibited except for consumption. Coffee shops are not prosecuted if they abide by certain rules, but the law still says that it is illegal to sell weed. I think that will happen within the next 10 years, depending on the political dynamics. But with the example of the United States and Uruguay, where they have basically legalized the cannabis market, not only Germany but more countries in Europe, will move toward a regulated cannabis market.”
Marijuana legalization has been a growing trend around the United Sates. Currently, some form of marijuana is legal in 36 states, but this revolution is not just taking place in the United States. We are seeing marijuana reform taking place all around the world.
Less than a month ago, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order to legalize medical marijuana. In 2014, Uruguay legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands all have legal medical marijuana programs. Portugal and a number of other countries have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.