CALLS by the leaders of two German police unions for politicians to U-Turn on the their progressive march towards cannabis legalisation have been roundly condemned.
This comes as political talks continue towards the the formation of a cannabis-friendly ‘Traffic-Light Coalition’.
It appears that it is just these talks – and the potential for adult-use legalisation – which has prompted the German police to speak out.
Oliver Malchow, head of Germany’s police union (GdP), told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung – a regional daily newspaper – ‘that there must finally be an end to trivializing the joint’.
He went on to say that cannabis use can lead to ‘significant health problems and social conflicts, especially among young people’.
Speaking to the same publication fellow Police Union boss and Christian Democrat (CDU) politician Rainer Wendt of The German Police Union (DPolG) said: ”It would be the start of a stoned future instead of the launch of a modern Germany if this project were included in the coalition agreement of a traffic light coalition.”
He branded cannabis a gateway drug, and said he feared fatal consequences of adult-use legalisation would be a rise in road traffic accidents, (although studies into this have not reached any firm conclusions).
Growing Police Hostility To Cannabis
The German police have become increasingly hostile to cannabis and hemp over the last few years.
There have been a number of incidents recently where they have moved to confiscate products and arrest the sellers of hemp and CBD products.
In one such case two hemp tea sellers were given six-month suspended prison sentences for drug-trafficking, before the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) came down on the side of the retailers.
German cannabis lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann is now leading a fightback through the courts against this prohibitionist mindset.
Old Myths And Lies
He said: “Many of the detectives and police officers I speak to are done with prosecuting businesses for selling CBD flowers, or hemp tea, they have had enough of all of this in relation to cannabis and they want to get on with real police work.
“These are the attitudes of the old warriors regurgitating their old myths and lies. Public opinion has shifted and the majority of the country is now in favour of reform.
“The detectives are in favour of reform (see below) and I’ve no idea why they came up with this old stuff. The science has proved them wrong. The German Supreme court, in 1994, has said cannabis is not a gateway drug and there is no evidence of harm to young people. These are their last arguments and they are not scientifically true.”
Finn Hansel, Managing Director and Co-Founder, of leading German cannabis business Sanity Group said the police statement is ‘to be expected’.
“Mr Wendt is a conservative politician and if you see his argument you realize that he is not really familiar with the topic.
“However, two things he said are quite revealing. His arguments that cannabis is dangerous because you don’t know the composition of the products in the market, and, that cannabis is dangerous for young people are both arguments for legalization and not against it.
“Only legal cannabis can control product quality and composition and only legal cannabis can set clear age ranges.”
He went on to say that in 2018 a third police union – the Confederation of Detective Officers – had said they are supportive of the legalization.
He added: “This is an example of the prohibitionist mindset which is now fading in Germany. Not even the conservative (CDU) party has yet commented on these statements. I think legalization is just ahead of us.”
Jürgen Neumeyer, Managing Director of the German Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW), said the latest comments from the police are indicative of the ‘prohibitionist mindset’ that still exists in the force, and elsewhere, and that science has shown their claims over the potential harmful impacts of cannabis to be ‘untrue’.
Philip Schetter, Managing Director of German medical cannabis wholesale distributor and manufacturer Cantourage believes it is important to establish a ‘systematic roadmap for the legalization of cannabis involving all parties including the police’.
He added: “In these discussions, we should look at the real-world data at hand – for example, from Canada – and make decisions based on facts. To my knowledge, there was not a hike in crimes and accidents. At the end of the day, there will be more, and safer, products available.”
Post-Election Cannabis Coalitions
Following last month’s Federal Elections the Greens and the Free Democrat Party (FDP) with a cumulative 210 parliamentary seats are the largest block in the Bundestag, with both behind an adult-use cannabis market.
The two are currently talks with potential suitors, the Social Democrats (SPD), who claimed 206 seats, and the outgoing Chancellor Merkel’s CDU, with 196.
The Greens have drafted their own adult-use regulations and the FDP leader Christian Lindner, when asked which project would be easiest to implement with the Greens, answered the ‘legalisation of cannabis’.
Their most likely suitor is the SPD, which is a left-leaning party which has previously proposed undertaking adult-use trials in German cities.
Such a Traffic Light Coalition – red (SPD), yellow (FDP) and green – will deliver a cumulative 416 seats well above the 368 required for an overall majority.