The recreational marijuana industry made some serious ground in Europe this week, and it is leaving anti-prohibitionists feeling hopeful.
Government officials and activists for the legalization of marijuana in Germany announced last year that an agreement to end cannabis prohibition had been reached. Since then, officials have been working towards outlining legislation and regulations surrounding the new industry in the country, and this week, Germany made one more concrete step towards the finalizing of prohibition.
On Monday, June 13th, the German government announced in a press release that it will host a collection of meetings with experts from around the globe to “discuss various aspects and implications of the policy change.”
If Germany’s willingness to educate themselves and learn from leading experts in the field wasn’t enough, the government plans to hold these hearings in front of the public not only to educate citizens but also to listen to their feedback and insight. Take notes, America.
A Health-Oriented Approach
For Germany’s Commissioner for Addiction & Drug Issues, this comes as a welcome and necessary step forward. For him, the time has undoubtedly come to move forward.
“We are starting the preparatory phase of legislation,” said the Commissioner in a tweet. “Being able to finally announce this is a special, gratifying moment for me personally. Like many others, I have been working for years to ensure that we in Germany finally stop criminalizing cannabis users and start a modern and health-oriented cannabis policy.”
Health-oriented. It sounds simple enough, and yet sick patients and war veterans in the U.S. continue to lack access to important medication for their mental and physical wellbeing.
Sadly, the U.S. cannabis market is one motivated by profit and high-tax rates. It would be worthwhile for government officials and lawmakers in the U.S. to study Germany’s people-driven approach.
Matters Needing To Be Addressed
The country will host 5 public hearings, each focusing on essential topics needing addressing when it comes to cannabis legalization.
- Health & Consumer Protection
As previously mentioned, the country plans to take a health-first approach, and that means it will need to carefully weigh the benefits and potential health risks of cannabis consumption and mitigate them appropriately.
- Youth Prevention & Protection
Of course, when bringing any substance to the legal and accessible market, it is imperative that government officials and people in positions of power take the necessary steps to protect their youth and implement appropriate measures to keep adult substances away from children.
- Supply Chains and Economic & Ecological Considerations
In order to implement a new economic highway, it is important that governments understand the implications of that. Furthermore, Germany, alongside many of its European counterparts, is a big advocate for the environment and for generating a greener marketplace.
- Penalties & Licensing Regulations
Perhaps the most critical of all, penalties and licensing regulations will undoubtedly become the blueprint for the legal cannabis market in Germany and, as such, should be created with attention to detail and consideration for the community.
At this point in time, Germany has not made decisions as to whether or not issues such as home cultivation, expungements, or traffic controls will be administered as part of the reform.
- International Experiences
The fifth and final hearing will consider both prohibitionist and anti-prohibitionist countries, their experiences, their successes, and their downfalls.
To Infini-Weed & Beyond
As exciting as this step forward is for Germany, perhaps the most exciting of all is that the country also announced its vision to work towards other drug policy reforms, such as developing substance services so that individuals can have their illicit drugs checked for impurities and other dangerous drugs such as fentanyl, without worrying about suffering legal repercussions.
Sadly, it’s not been all sunshine and rainbows in Germany. Police officers and unions in the country have openly expressed their discontent at the prospect of legalization and reform.
Yes, it is important to celebrate every step towards a less prohibitionist future, both here in the U.S. and around the globe. That being said, the governments at both the state and federal levels in America should consider taking influence from Germany’s transparency and willingness to listen to the needs of its people.
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