Commentary : Let's decriminalise casual cannabis use
Users should be allowed to toke in peace while enforcement focuses on busting organised drug smugglers.
The number of drug offences continue to increase in Germany – a very real issue for the country. Germany now has a leading position in the illegal international drug trade - not just in smuggling and trafficking.
According to the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the number of drug users is rising. The fact that cocaine is no longer the preserve of the elite illustrates just how wide the business of illegal drugs has spread. Cocaine taxis and online dealers now have s a baggie for every budget.
Recently, customs and police have made drug huge finds. The pandemic's inability to slow the flow of drugs shows just how strong the supply to Germany really is.
Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig is of course on the right track when she emphasises prevention programmes. Doing away with addiction as a social taboo is an important factor when it comes to combating drug abuse.
But it would be even more helpful not to criminalise responsible citizens who use cannabis from time to time. Sixty per cent of offences are linked to plant-based drugs. The resources that the police use to bust occasional smokers could be used to crack down on the true problem cases: the organised smugglers.
The criminalisation of cannabis brings people – mostly young people – more quickly into an environment where harder drugs are consumed. Redefining what is illegal could help.
It's worrying that year after year more and more people are getting high on illegal substances. While no one can be absolved of their own responsibility, society also needs to ask itself why so many people want to escape reality. And whether the double standards that apply to the perfectly legal and addictive drug called alcohol has something to do with it.