In recent developments, a coalition of diverse organisations, including medical associations, law enforcement, and educators, has vehemently opposed the proposed Cannabis Act put forth by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. In a bold move, these groups, united in their concern for the well-being of the nation’s youth, have collectively penned a letter urging members of the Bundestag to reject the contentious legislation.
Opposition: letter to Bundestag
The letter is titled “Aus Verantwortung für unser Land – die geplante Cannabis-Legalisierung stoppen” (From Responsibility for Our Country – Halt the Planned Cannabis Legalisation). It underscores the urgency felt by the signatories in preventing what they label a “drogen politische Bankrotterklärung” (drug policy bankruptcy). The coalition comprises heavyweight entities. These are: the German Medical Association, the Police Union, the Association of German Criminal Investigators, the German Teachers’ Association, and several other medical societies.
At the forefront of this opposition is Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association, who emphatically states that approving the proposed Cannabis Act would be a disservice to the youth of Germany. Reinhardt contends that the legalisation of cannabis is not a matter of youth protection but a highly irresponsible move. He argues that by sanctioning the drug, known to be addictive and potentially harmful to the development of adolescents and young adults, the government is failing in its duty to protect the nation’s youth.
The letter outlines five key warnings to members of the Bundestag, aiming to dissuade them from supporting the Lauterbach Plan. Firstly, it asserts that cannabis legalisation contradicts international consensus and poses a threat to the health of the younger generation. Citing a report from the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board, the letter contends that legalisation tends to lower risk perception, leading to increased consumption, particularly among young people.
Youth protection in new cannabis legislation
Secondly, the coalition argues that the proposed legislation does not strengthen child and youth protection. They criticise the intricate and impractical measures of the bill. According to opposition, it would normalise cannabis consumption in the eyes of children and adolescents.
The third point emphasises that the Cannabis Act would fail to curb the black market. According to opposition, it could potentially strengthen cannabis illicit market, especially among minors. The fourth warning contends that the legislation would not alleviate the burden on the judiciary and law enforcement. In fact, it wouldincrease the workload due to the intricate regulations and potential legal disputes.
The final plea urges a redirection of efforts towards enhancing cannabis-related education and prevention, favouring a robust approach over legalisation. The coalition suggests that institutions like the Federal Centre for Health Education could play a pivotal role in this regard.
Even the German Judges Association has joined the chorus of dissent. They fear that the proposed legislation could create a bureaucratic behemoth, contrary to the government’s current push to streamline processes and reduce public expenditure.
The SPD faction plans to push the legislation through in the coming year. So, the growing opposition underscores the need for a comprehensive and balanced examination of the proposed Cannabis Act. They want to consider the potential ramifications on public health, law enforcement, as well as societal well-being. The debate surrounding the bill is likely to intensify in the coming months.