Germany: Acadamic Publishes Commissioned Report Saying New German Cannabis Regulation Would Violate International Law

Market Screener writes

The German government’s plans to legalize cannabis violate international law, according to a new expert report. “The cannabis legalization planned by the federal government contradicts international and European law,” the 53-page scientific paper, presented in Munich on Wednesday, states. Author Bernhard Wegener, holder of the Chair of Public Law and European Law at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen, had prepared the expert opinion on behalf of State Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU).

According to the report, the traffic light plans violate in particular the United Nations Conventions on Drug Control: “The UN drug control bodies evaluate a comprehensive cannabis legalization of the kind planned by the federal government in constant decision practice as a violation of the UN Conventions on Drug Control in violation of the treaty.” Moreover, with regard to European law, the planned state or state-licensed trade, cultivation and sale of cannabis for other than scientific or medical purposes is “inadmissible,” he said.

“In my view, a violation of EU law would always have to result in infringement proceedings,” said Holetschek, who has categorically rejected marijuana legalization plans for months. He therefore called on the German government to drop its plans to allow the cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis for pleasure purposes. “We will continue to work to prevent the legalization of smoking pot,” he said.

“The German government’s legalization plan ignores the limits of national drug policy under international and European law,” Wegener emphasized. This internationally and European non-coordinated special path is therefore legally extremely risky and threatens to miss even the goals pursued by the federal government from the outset, he said. He said he had the impression that the federal government had put on blinkers and was trying to ignore the legal framework.

Cannabis legalization is one of the major projects of the traffic light coalition. In their coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed to make possible a “controlled distribution of the drug to adults for consumption purposes in licensed stores.” Cannabis is to be cultivated and sold in Germany under state regulation. Home cultivation of a few plants is also to be permitted.

One of the reasons given by the traffic lights for the plan is that the prohibition policy has not prevented use; instead, there has even been an increase in consumption. Furthermore, a legal and state-supervised sale could improve youth and health protection, as there would be less contaminated cannabis in circulation. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had presented the first concrete ideas for implementation in the fall. A draft law should be available by the end of March.

Holetschek does not accept these arguments: “Experience from the USA or Canada shows that the black market cannot be dried up with legalization. On the contrary, the black market continues to exist. In addition, problems in market regulation, smuggling and tax fraud present the state with unsolvable problems.”

In addition, Holetschek said it was “naive” to believe that children and young people would not have access to cannabis as a result of such a law with age restrictions. Experiences from abroad showed that a so-called gray market could develop, in which, for example, legally acquired cannabis would be passed on to minors by adults. “That would be a new challenge for the police and the judiciary, which nobody needs,” he said. Therefore, we cannot assume a presumed ‘relief’ of the police, with which legalization advocates like to argue.”

“I cannot understand how releasing cannabis for “pleasure purposes” for young people over the age of 18 is supposed to improve health and youth protection,” Holetschek said. He therefore continues to strongly oppose cannabis legalization because of the serious health risks associated with this drug. “Legalizing cannabis and insisting on prevention is like starting a fire and then calling the fire department.


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