Legal Cannabis as Campaign Strategy: German Conservatives Consider Jumping on the Bandwagon — The Electorate Needs to Demand Better

last month

It has been thirty years since the Berlin Wall fell in the last two months of 1989. The event, started by a broadcasting error exactly 30 years ago to this day, on November 9 1989, would become the biggest political change in modern post-World War II Europe.

And also brought David Hasselhoff a weird iconic status in the country of lederhosen.

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Beyond the fall of post-WWII communism in Europe as the revolution would spread across Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall would indirectly also contribute to the further propagation and consolidation of capitalism around the world, or rather the nowadays by OG capitalists loathed “neoliberalism”. In some sense one could say that a brutally flawed unequal system was replaced with a just as flawed system of ever increasing inequality.

When it comes to drugs, Germany has been one of the more progressive nations in the European Union in recent times and since 1992 has included a specific paragraph in the Narcotics law, allowing prosecutors not to pursue “small amounts” of possession if there’s no benefit to the state in prosecution — or risk in not prosecuting. On the streets this pretty much means that if you have no record and treat the cops who halted you with respect, more often than not there won’t be any issue and you can go on with your life. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is a “tolerance policy” and prosecution is possible. Cannabis is still an illegal drug in Germany.

Time for Legalization?

Times, and the zeitgeist, have changed though and in recent years the political parties have slowly but surely shifted position and three of the traditional parties — socialists, liberals, and greens, have adopted recreational cannabis legalization in their program for the next elections.

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Source: Deutsche Welle

Last week, the German conservatives — Merkel’s party — also announced they may consider legalizing cannabis in the future. While there is no explicit mandate for such legalization, this means that the current “Jamaica coalition” in Germany is pro legalization of marijuana.

There’s More to It

Anybody who has recently followed politics in Europe, and even the rest of the world, is aware that populism — often underpinned by patriotism, nationalism, and even outright xenophobia — has gained traction. Combined with ever growing economical insecurity, increasing life costs, and recently exponential gentrification the populist vote is an easy “protest vote”.

One which in recent years has gained large traction, traction larger than Vlaams Blok in the 80s in Belgium and even Le Front National ever achieved in France during their respective economical harder years.

In Germany the modern right-wing AfD has in recent years grown to become one of the largest parties, depending on election and area, at times the second largest party even. This at vast cost to both the conservatives and socialists.

Often this has resulted in the traditional parties needing to create almost impossible “grand coalitions” or coalitions with often seemingly opposing DNA in setup, like the current Jamaica coalition, just to keep the AfD out of the government.

With the changing zeitgeist around cannabis, as well as increasing knowledge about the tax revenue potential, it is thus becoming an easy change in campaigning policy for the traditional parties to include legalization of cannabis and hopefully keep those votes within the party come next election.

So far so good?

Shift in Paradigm Required

As cannabis lovers, of course, we could now be satisfied and happily queue the line and vote for legalization. After all even the German conservatives make all the right noises now

“Cannabis could be freed for personal use, of course with controlled production and distribution. The resources freed in the police and judiciary should be used to fight the illegal trade."
— CDU interior policy spokesman Marian Wendt

But cannabis is more complicated and deserves better future frameworks than those currently existing and even those in the works, like in Luxembourg. After all, even in the Netherlands the cannabis legislation is muddled and more a cultural than actually enshrined in law.

Over the years, the ridiculous prohibition of cannabis has done much damage and destroyed many lives. Destroyed with years of imprisonments, criminal records, and thus further lost opportunities in society after release. Add to that the gone wrong “neoliberalism” which is now also taking its toll also on Germany, who until recently still managed to protect itself from too hostile gentrification. But those days have ended too, and several municipalities are now looking at new rental protection laws. Despite those potentially being unconstitutional.

It is safe to say that the modern “capitalist” model has failed and unless future legal frameworks are made for the citizen again, any new regulation will benefit but the large corporations and their ridiculous war chests — financial war chests often powered by debt btw. Without specific focus on “restorative legalization” and improved social equity models within the legal cannabis sector, as well as considered use of legal weed tax revenue, it is safe to say that once again Jane and Joe Average will be shafted.


Source: European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Addiction

As legal marijuana advocates and campaigners, it is important that we up our game and think not just about our own toke but about doing the right thing.

Of course, each one of us wants legal weed but at what cost? How much are you willing to bend over to get your weed legalized?

Many of us have been “criminals” for several decades already.

Let’s be honest, whether legalization happens next month or in two years because more time is required to develop solid legal frameworks, including just social equity programs and restorative legalization offering the chance to the people, and areas, damaged most by the unjust prohibition... we will continue to toke. Legal or not.

Especially in countries such as Germany, or even themajority of the European Union where in many countries a tolerance policy is maintained for small amounts of possession.

The Onus is on the Voters

Given all hardship in the current world, driven both by debt powered corporations and the exponentially growing inequality, it is our task to grab the bull by the horns and demand from the legislators that they change their thinking and start working for the citizens again, rather than for the lobby industry and tax evaders.

While legal weed is the end goal, too much damage has been done in 80 years of prohibition to just be satisfied with the easy “we will legalize your weed” vote campaigning ever more parties around the world are subscribing to.

The task is with us to make sure that Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Big Alcohol are kept out of the industry — or receive only minimized equity in the markets because we know that their focus is not the user but their fiduciary duties and thus will result in only more inequality.

As voters we must become accountable and raise our game and demand more from the politicians. If that means that legalization will take few years more... so be. Because, even Trump will join the legal marijuana gravy train if it will increase his chances in 2020. Not because he wants to legalize weed or cares about any of us.

Because it’s an easy vote. Nothing more, nothing less.

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It is time we demand more and don’t just allow political bandwagon‘ing to get our vote because we will only further damage our own situation. Here’s hoping that given the growing economical inequality, and dissatisfaction, in Germany come 2021 the voters will hold their candidates accountable and not just bend over for more of the swamp, yet again.

Cannabis prohibition has destroyed too many lives to be gullible come next election and to just give our vote because “they supported legal weed”. Only those whose legal marijuana supports solid social equity and marijuana tax revenue programs deserve our vote.


Tags: #news #opinion #legalization #accountability #germany
Leadpic photo credit: “borrowed” from Apple’s German homepage for the 30th anniversary

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