State of Euphoria

Das Branchenmagazin Tobacco Reporter berichtet über die bevorstehende Cannabis- Legalisierung und sprach ausführlich mit Georg Wurth vom DHV.

According to the German Cannabis Association, illegal marijuana is often contaminated with sand, sugar, glass or spices. Increasingly, synthetic cannabinoids, up to 100 times stronger than natural psychoactive cannabinoids, are used to dilute the weed. […]

Georg Wurth, managing director of the German Cannabis Association, does not share law enforcement’s concerns. “The black market will at least be pushed back,” he says. “Every single euro of revenue that will be generated on the legal market will be retracted from the illicit market, and every percent that moves from the black to the legal market is a progress. I’d rather have a legal and a black market than a 100 percent illegal market. If you take cigarettes as an example, there is also a black market, but there are no plans to prohibit cigarettes in order to rein that in.”

The right pricing will be decisive for deflating the illegal market, Wurth adds. “All three coalition partners are aware that they shouldn’t overplay their hand if they really want to force back the illegal market. I am confident that they will succeed if they find the right approach at pricing. In Canada, it took about two and a half years until half of the cannabis revenues came from the legal market.” […]

The German Cannabis Organization believes the coalition should consider four aspects in shaping regulation. For starters, it should permit private cultivation for personal consumption. “In other countries that have legalized marijuana, such as Uruguay and some U.S. states, this is part of the law,” says Wurth.

Traffic laws are another issue. “Presently, limiting values and criminal proceedings are extremely strict. Cannabis users may lose their driver’s license even though they did not drive stoned, only because they have remainders of cannabis in their blood from consumption days ago that don’t have any effect on their driving behavior anymore,” says Wurth.

He also insists on an amnesty for the cannabis users who are currently listed as criminal offenders. “Their entries have to be deleted,” says Wurth. “In the U.S. states where marijuana is legal, this is regularly being done.”

Lastly, the sale of legal cannabis should remain restricted to specialist shops, according to the German Cannabis Organization. This would also guarantee better youth protection.

However, neither the legalization of cannabis for adults nor prohibition can prevent marijuana consumption among youths, cautions Wurth. “Legalization would nevertheless have a positive impact on youths, even though it cannot principally prevent youth consumption,” he says. “Youths are more susceptible to prevention measures, hence the latter should be stepped up significantly and reformed.

“Currently, police give preventive lessons in schools. They tend to get the message across that youths shouldn’t touch cannabis or else they would end up in the gutter, lose their driver’s licenses, etc. I hope that with the legalization there will also be more investment in better education and credible prevention measures so that youths seek drug counselling help earlier.”

If youths do consume cannabis, Wurth adds, it is safer if their older friends or siblings bring them legal weed from a licensed dispensary rather than potentially contaminated marijuana from a street dealer as is the case now. […]

Wurth expects it to take another one or two years until the law takes effect—and even longer until the first licenses will be allocated, cultivation gets started and the first shops open. “The quickest part of such a law would be the decriminalization of consumers. The U.S. have shown that this can happen immediately.”

In shaping the law, he says, Germany has several role models it could draw upon. “The Netherlands are no example of a legalized market as the coffee shops are only tolerated, and supply is not regulated, so that criminal structures have emerged like everywhere else. But the coffee shops are a good example of allowing consumption on-site, which is not the case in most other countries that have legalized marijuana. As for points of sale, Germany should look to Canada and the U.S.—licensed specialist shops in a limited number; no access for youths; exact declaration of the products, their origins and their CBD and THC contents. Uruguay allows cultivation for personal use; people can even join grower communities to cultivate their weed or have it cultivated.”