Germany will lead “a real paradigm shift on drugs”

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In office for two weeks, the new German Commissioner for Drugs, Burkhard Blienert, does not escape the question of a date for the future legalization of German cannabis. The former member of the Bundestag had been campaigning for this for a long time, but wanted to put the project back in a realistic chronology.

In an interview with the German newspaper RND, Burkhard Blienert claimed that the new “traffic light” coalition will be at the forefront of a new global movement that will lead to a “real paradigm shift in drug policy and of drug addiction”.

He said: “In my new role, I am concerned with protecting and helping consumers, not punishing them. With the controlled and regulated sale of cannabis in Germany, we are going to make European history. »

In the long time…

Developing a cannabis regulatory framework always takes time. Canada, which already had a legal framework for the production and distribution of cannabis for medical use, launched its task force on recreational cannabis in 2016 for legalization in 2018. Burkhard Blienert confirms that drafting the new laws in Germany will not be an easy task, but there is a model in the form of the Cannabis Control Act proposed by the German Greens in 2015.

In addition to health protection, restricting cannabis to adults and tackling the black market head-on, the Drugs Commissioner knows he will have to address issues such as personal possession, advertising, taxation, home cultivation and measures to change course with other illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

He thus wishes to broaden the approach to all drugs: “We must not leave drug addicts alone with their problems. I would like us not to focus on repression but on protection and help for drug addicts. Criminal law is neither medicine nor therapy. We need to empower people and reduce the health risks of addiction. »

He believes that Germany will be at the forefront of a new movement that will steer international drug policy towards “health protection and regulation and less on law enforcement”.

… but before the next elections

Question timing, no specific date has been provided. However, he insisted on guaranteeing that they will be in place within four years.

“Before the end of this election period, there should be a law that will make the purchase of cannabis by adults in Germany legal, in a controlled and safe way. This is what the coalition agreement says, and we will stick to it,” he said.

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