The head of Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (Association of German Criminal Officers) commonly called BDK, has spoken out in favor of complete decriminalization of cannabis and to a change in the countrie’s policies on cannabis.
“The prohibition of cannabis has historically been arbitrary and until today neither intelligent nor purposeful,” André Schulz, the head of BDK, told Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper.
He also added that never in the history of mankind has a society been without the use of drugs. Schulz also predicts that cannabis will not be illegal in Germany for long.
According to the BDK, Germany’s current legal system is stigmatizing people and promotes criminal careers. That is why they are advocating the complete decriminalization of cannabis use.
Schulz believes there are better alternatives and opportunities when it comes to drug policies. Rather than aiming their focus on policies that repress and prosecute the users, he cited that helping cannabis consumers in the aspects of welfare, making sure that child and youth protection is effective, and education with regards to responsible drug use are more important instead.
This is after Bundestag, the German parliament passed the bill that legalizes marijuana for medicinal purposes in January 2017. Now that this law is passed, people suffering from serious illnesses such as chronic pain, serious appetite loss, nausea from chemotherapy or multiple sclerosis have been able to receive medical marijuana prescriptions from their doctors.
Cannabis and Driving
Though he foresees a more moderate policy implementation for cannabis, the head of BDK expressed his concerns for motorists. He said that for safety reasons driving while drunk or otherwise in an intoxicated state must be restricted.
Germany’s laws still have some loopholes and uncertainties in its implementations. Whereas German drivers can be punished for being drunk or have consumed alcohol before driving, drivers and even passengers on the other hand with cannabis in their possession can have their license taken away.
Their lawmakers have yet to reach a consensus on how to quantify marijuana intoxication and how much a user can consume before being considered unfit to drive.
Under German policies, possession of cannabis in small amounts for personal use is generally considered not a criminal offense. Although the law varies based on region, the maximum limit is normally between 10 and 15 grams.
Surge of Medical Applications
Only an average of 1,000 people in the country had permission to use medical marijuana for special therapeutic purposes before March 2017 when the law came into full effect. These patients also have to take on the costs themselves.
It was estimated that 700 patients per year would request prescriptions before the draft bill was approved.
The lawmakers’ presumptions were answered after three health insurance companies published the results of their survey ten months after medical marijuana’s legalization. The joint reports of Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), Barmer, and Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK) found out that more patients than the expected 700 had applied for cannabis prescription.
The applications received by AOK was the most with 7,600. 64 percent of these appeals were approved. Approximately 3,200 applications, on the other hand, had been submitted to Barmer by the end of 2017. Under 62 percent of it had been accepted. And by the start of December 2017, TK received 2,200 applications for reimbursement. Their approval rate matches those with AOK with 64 percent as well.
The German’s Views
Although the German law enforcement agency expects a brighter outlook for the complete legalization of cannabis laws in Germany, the general public still seems to have a long way to go with catching up with the benefits of cannabis and the benefits that legalization brings to the community. As much as 63 percent of its citizens seem to oppose the milestones medical marijuana has achieved, according to the survey released by Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis.
Only 43 percent of those under 30 support the legalization while 72 percent of people over the age of 60 said that they would like to see continued prohibition.
Germany has been initiating movements and is seeing success in the medical cannabis front. The law does not only allow chronically ill individuals to use medical cannabis but it also makes it easier for scientists and doctors to conduct studies on the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
Although showing a good sign of progress, the medical marijuana bill is still fairly restrictive. German patients are still not allowed to cultivate and farm their own cannabis plants. Another example is that a German court just recently ordered that hunters cannot be permitted firearms license due to medical cannabis use.