Regulated Legalization of Cannabis in Germany

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Leaving the moral ‘high’ grounds Towards a regulated legalization of cannabis in Germany


At first glance, German drug policy seems quite progressive: Drug abuse is treated as a health

and social issue and there is a strong focus on prevention through education. However,

Germany is still a staunch supporter of the current prohibition regime and is committed to the

aim of a “drug free society”. As such, tackling the supply side of the drug trade is still an

important pillar of German drug policy, which leads to a number of adjacent problems

(International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 2009).

In order to reduce drugrelated

harm, better combat international drug trafficking and to allocate

public resources more efficiently, Germany should opt for a regulated legalization of cannabis.

(1) Legalize the production and sale of cannabis through a government controlled licensing


(2) Impose strict rules on the legal market to better protect public health


According to the Epidemiological Survey on Addiction (2012) cannabis consumption is a

pervasive phenomenon in Germany. 26,7% of Germans between the ages of 1864

reported to

have used illicit drugs at least once in their lives, cannabis being by far the most common.The

same study also showed that 60% of respondents were in favour of a decriminalization of the

personal use of cannabis, which constitutes a clear discrepancy between public opinion and

legislative practice. The prosecution of small scale offenders costs the German state between

€3.7 and €4.6 billion a year, excluding social costs, and diverts away funds and personnel from

investigations targeting large drug syndicates (Hardinghaus, 2013). Indeed, Germany’s location

in th...

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...r regulated markets, Germany

can make a persuasive case and push for a revision of the treaties and a more humane and


oriented legal framework.


In the light of the adversary effects of the current prohibition of marijuana both within Germany

and globally, the German government should take steps towards a regulated legalization of

marijuana and implement a (1) licensing system for the production, distribution and sale of

marijuana. In order to better protect minors and other vulnerable groups, the (2) purchase of

marijuana needs to be subject to several restrictions. At this point in time, the negative public

sentiment and the international drug conventions do not allow for the legalization of all drugs, but

if the above mentioned measures prove successful, an extension to other drugs should be the

matter of further public debate.

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