Opinion: Cannabis legalization would be unlawful

Opinion: Cannabis legalization would be unlawful


Dhe Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) presented a comprehensive report on Wednesday, according to which the legalization of cannabis planned by the federal government violates both international law and European law. As the law professor Bernhard Wegener from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg explains, the planned legalization contradicts the UN Convention on Drug Control.

The only exception to this is the use of cannabis for scientific and medical purposes “in a narrow sense”. All other forms of behavior, in particular the cultivation, trade, import and export, sale and purchase, possession and consumption of cannabis, are “to be prohibited according to the clear and unambiguous provisions of the UN Convention”.

The acquisition and possession of “pleasure cannabis” should be exempt from punishment

Wegener prepared the report on behalf of the Bavarian Ministry of Health. It states that “the ‘constitutional reservation’ described by a minority in the literature as the way to comprehensive cannabis legalization” does not allow the planned cannabis legalization. He refers “solely to the possibility of decriminalizing personal consumption and the immediate preparatory actions serving its purpose”.

The creation of “a comprehensive system of state-organized or licensed provision of cannabis” is not compatible with this. EU law also contradicts this. In particular, the planned state or state-licensed trade, cultivation and sale of cannabis for purposes other than scientific or medical purposes are not permitted.

Has commissioned an expert opinion on the traffic light cannabis plans: the Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU), here on March 29, 2022 in Munich


Has commissioned an expert opinion on the traffic light cannabis plans: the Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU), here on March 29, 2022 in Munich
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Image: dpa


So far, the federal government has only outlined the individual elements of the planned legalization in a key issues paper. According to this, cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should no longer be classified as narcotics in the future. The production, supply and distribution of cannabis should be permitted within a licensed and government-controlled framework.

The acquisition and possession of up to a maximum amount of 20 to 30 grams of “pleasure cannabis” should be exempt from punishment for personal consumption in private and public spaces. Private self-cultivation should be allowed to a limited extent. According to Wegener, the federal government made a conscious decision in favor of cannabis legalization, which is particularly far-reaching in international comparison. In the EU be it by far the most comprehensive and extensive.

FDP: Holetschek is on the wrong track

Minister Holetschek warned of infringement proceedings if EU law were breached. He called on the federal government to “drop their plans immediately and instead devote all their energy to the important challenges of our healthcare system: hospital reform, nursing care reform, shortage of skilled workers, digitization – to name just a few.”

Kristine Lütke, addiction and drug policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group, accused Holetschek of being on the wrong track with “his anti-cannabis campaign”. She described the legal opinion as “tentative”, without giving any further justification. However, she was certain that when the first draft law on cannabis legalization by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) was available, it would become clear “how the controlled release of cannabis for recreational purposes can be implemented with legal certainty”.



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