Cannabis legal in Germany: a model for all Europe?

After decades of debate, since Monday the possession, private cultivation and consumption of cannabis is allowed for adults in Germany — albeit subject to strict regulations. Media from neighbouring countries applaud the German initiative and call on their own governments to follow suit.

Il Manifesto (IT) /

Pioneers against prohibitionism

Germany has also pushed the EU forward in this matter, Il Manifesto comments approvingly:

“In contrast to the Netherlands, which tolerates the sale and consumption of cannabis despite a legal ban, the Scholz government has chosen the path of complete decriminalisation. ... The traffic light coalition had considerable trouble negotiating the move with the Commission in Brussels. The latter was annoyed by the German ‘pressure’, which called into question the entire EU regulatory framework based on uncompromising prohibitionism. Meanwhile, there was no real problem overcoming the resistance of the CDU/CSU MPs who tried to block the law through parliamentary channels until the very end — the only ones who, together with the nationalist AfD MPs, were against legalisation.”

Sebastiano Canetta
Polityka (PL) /

Ban was ineffective anyway

Polityka voices understanding for the move:

“While the decision to legalise cannabis may seem controversial, supporters make a compelling case for reform. First and foremost, the previous drug policy was ineffective: consumption and trafficking on the black market flourished, and the little social damage that the drug caused meant that prosecuting pot smokers was not a police priority compared with more serious offences. So the law was already partially ineffective.”

Maria Skóra
Libération (FR) /

Merchandise it, don’t ban it

Drug policy in France is ensnared in a repressive ideology, Libération complains:

“Legalisation — not decriminalisation, which has no impact on dealing — is the only legitimate way for the state to finally assume a virtuous regulatory role. Of course, one can limit oneself to saying ‘drugs are bad’ and pretend that the ‘war on drugs’ is the solution. But that’s hardly responsible. The state would be far more useful if it took charge of national production, which must be of good quality and cheaper than the cannabis sold illegally, while at the same time running prevention campaigns for the youngest smokers. That would also be financially worthwhile.”

Jonathan Bouchet-Petersen
Delfi (LT) /

Why is vodka allowed but weed taboo?

In an article in Delfi, legal expert Skirmantas Bikelis criticises the double standards in his country:

“Compared to Lithuania, the Germans have walked with seven-league boots and followed things through to their logical conclusion. ... Now we will be able to observe from a distance what social consequences Germany’s decision has. The first ones will soon become visible when over 100,000 criminal cases involving cannabis are reviewed in Germany. In Lithuania, on the other hand, even elderly people who want to relax by smoking cannabis will continue to be treated like criminals. Unless they choose to have a sip of vodka or a cigarette instead. Then our justice system would have no complaints.”

Skirmantas Bikelis