After consulting with experts, city officials are moving forward with the plan to allow recreational sale of cannabis to adults in the near future, despite the standing ban on a national level in Germany.
Cannabis Legalisation At Local Level
In another example how marijuana legalisation can start on the local level, the German city of Dusseldorf is taking steps to regulate the recreational marijuana market independently. The city has filed a proposal to the federal government a year ago and is now conducting counselling sessions on the topic with professionals from multiple fields that might be affected by the change. City officials are citing the scientific value that would be gained from legalisation to be the justifying factor while claiming that illegal sales are carried out despite the prohibitive laws. To make things even more interesting, the city is not alone in its efforts – Cologne, Munster and a few other urban centres are considering similar initiatives in the near future, and the cities could join forces in a bid to compel the central government to relax the drug laws.
Under the current proposal, all adults would be able to purchase cannabis products in licensed shops. That way, marijuana sales could be taxed and its consumption to minors could be largely prevented. On the other hand, local governments wouldn’t have to spend money on catching and prosecuting small-time offenders and law enforcement agencies could preserve manpower for more important duties. The idea behind the proposal is to treat drug addiction as essentially a health problem instead of a criminal issue, which would be much easier to do when sales are taking place in a controlled environment. Since medical marijuana is already legal in Germany, Dusseldorf’s proposal would be simply an extension of a policy that’s working well in practice.
Full Legalisation Obstacles
As you might expect, there are a few obstacles remaining. Full legalisation would be in violation of the federal law unless the city receives a green light from the government, which is a tricky proposition. A similar request by the Berlin’s Friedrichsheim-Kreuzberg borough was denied a year ago, and it would take a lot of persuasions to secure a different outcome this time around. Opponents of the idea fear that normalisation of marijuana would lead to increased use among young people, with adverse long-term impact on their psychological well-being. The city wants to conduct a study demonstrating that legalisation won’t bring any negative effects, but the costs of sufficiently comprehensive research would be beyond the financial power of the local government, again demanding some form of support from national institutions.
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