The Bavarian Association of Districts has launched a scathing critique against the proposed legalisation of cannabis by the Ampel coalition. Thomas Karmasin is the President of the Bavarian Association of Districts. He denounces the move, stating that celebrating cannabis under the guise of ‘enhanced health protection’ is a blatant disregard for the efforts of healthcare professionals who tirelessly work within a system strained to its limits by federal policies.
The coalition announced plans to legalise cannabis, with an intention to go into effect by April 1, 2024, after internal reconciliations. The Ampel factions have now come to an agreement, which means that the law will probably pass the Bundestag in the upcoming weeks, despite prior disagreements. Since every state government, with the exception of Bavaria’s, has at least one Ampel party representative, it is expected that the Bundesrat will raise few objections, allowing the law to be approved by spring.
Critics about the new law
Karmasin criticizes the coalition’s strategy. He claiming that legitimate worries from inside the coalition have been ignored in favor of little changes to evaluation procedures, demonstrating the government’s fear of public anger. He goes on to accuse the Federal Minister of Health of using political advantage to ignore scientific data that links frequent cannabis usage to an increased risk of psychiatric problems.
The proposed legislation has raised alarm bells within local administrations, particularly concerning the anticipated strain on already overstretched authorities. Karmasin highlights the substantial burden the law would place on youth offices, necessitating increased efforts in prevention and early intervention, without adequate provisions or solutions from the government.
Supporting these concerns is a study from the University of Hamburg, which predicts a significant surge in cannabis use post-legalization based on data from countries where cannabis is already legal. While short-term effects on consumption may be minimal, the study suggests that sustained legalisation could lead to long-term increases, particularly among adolescents.
The spectre of Portland, Oregon serves as a cautionary tale, where liberal drug policies resulted in a surge of addiction and a drastic decline in quality of life. Similar scenarios could unfold in Bavarian and East German cities, especially with neighbouring countries maintaining strict drug laws.
Resistance against the legalisation plans is also mounting within the medical community, with the President of the German Medical Association joining forces with law enforcement and educational institutions to highlight the potential risks associated with cannabis legalisation.
As the debate rages on, the Bavarian Association of Districts stands firm in its opposition to the proposed legislation, calling for a reevaluation of priorities and a more responsible approach to governance that prioritises public health and safety over political expediency.