In an unexpected turn of things, the recent cannabis survey among Frankfurt citizens faced a manipulation. Stefan Majer, a member of the Frankfurt City Council, and Dr. Artur Schroers, the director of the Frankfurt Drug Office, confirmed that among the 3001 responses submitted, there were about 350 well constructed fake answer forms. The poll was intended to provide Frankfurt people an opportunity to express their opinions and needs in the current cannabis debate. That is why the discovery has shocked the officials.
What is the issue with survey in Frankfurt?
Firstly, Frankfurt conducted the cannabis survey in association with Hamburg’s prestigious Institute for Interdisciplinary Addiction and Drug Research (ISD). It was sent out through mail to a random sample of 10,000 people living in Frankfurt. Online replies were protected from duplicate submissions by individualised access links. However, manipulators were able to take advantage of an issue in the postal return of surveys.
The topic of manipulation came up later at the second Frankfurt Cannabis Dialogue. At that time the journalists questioned the validity of the poll after receiving information from an anonymous informant. During the open meeting, Majer and Schroers presented the survey results. They had discussions with attendees on how this information may affect Frankfurt.
The challenge of identifying the fake surveys turned out to be difficult. The forgeries were accurate with outstanding excellence. They were impossible to distinguish apart with the naked eye, according to a thorough assessment by the ISD personnel in Hamburg. Only tiny differences allowed identification of the fakes. It was possible in grayscale shading and thanks to the lack of a fine grey line above the city of Frankfurt’s symbol. Contrary to early claims of 500, the real number of false questionnaires was probably approximately 350.
Cannabis survey findings
Although the existence of modified questionnaires is disappointing, it does not call into doubt the survey’s overall validity. The poll keeps its representativeness even with over 2500 “genuine” replies. By performing a full re-evaluation of the real survey answers, assuring correct data analysis, and delivering a new report that precisely reflects the actual emotions regarding cannabis of Frankfurt’s citizens, the authorities want to overcome this failure.
The poll results are still quite important. Frankfurt still takes part in the national cannabis discussion through groups like the German Association of Cities and Towns. They influence regional and national discussions on cannabis policy in addition to influencing local laws. The desire of the city to be a role-model area for the experimental study of cannabis production, distribution, and regulation emphasises the value of accurate data in guiding evidence-based policies and broad systems covering public health, education, and prevention initiatives.