Legalize it

shallow focus photography of cannabis plant
Lesedauer 6 Minuten

doctors smoke it
nurses smoke it
judges smoke it
even lawyer, too
so you’ve got to …
some call it tamjee
some call it the weed
some call it marijuana
some of them call it ganja
never mind, got to…

Bob Marley, Legalize it

Before this year’s German parliamentary elections, the legalization of cannabis was a topic of discussion, and consequently, it is now being debated again in public. The juvenile judge Müller has put himself in front of the movement. If a German judge is already standing up for something, it’s time to join in.

I have written an article about this in German. Since I know that acquaintances who do not understand German are also interested in this, I am trying to get a translation.

Drugs have accompanied humans since their existence. Consumption can even be observed in animals, primarily primates. All drugs affect the brain in some way and temporarily alter behavior, perception and body sensation. According to rather arbitrary criteria, starting around the time of the Opium War, some drugs were declared illegal substances while others remained legal. A Puritan movement in the USA, which went down in history as Prohibition, failed completely. Today, it remains the most striking example of the impossibility of banning drugs. Nevertheless, a drug war has been raging for decades, and users of illegal substances are persecuted by the police. A cannabis or pot smoker is fined for the active ingredient THC, while people who inhale the neurotoxin nicotine or drink the toxic liquid and liver poison ethanol have nothing to fear.

Other drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, once developed as medicine, ended up on the banned list. Again, there are various medicines that work identically, are gladly given by doctors, but do not cause the slightest offence. Heroin addiction is brutal and devastating. I do not want to question this at all. I just don’t understand why a person who is sick is forced into illegality, procurement crime and prostitution. Deterrence through punishment? If the condition of addicts is not repulsive enough, punishment will not change it.

During the war years of the Second World War, large parts of the German population were under the influence of Pervitin. „Panzerschokolade, Hausfrauen – Pralinen, Stuka – Tabletten“ was the name given to the amphetamine. The drug was useful to the Nazis and thus allowed. With a certain sarcasm, this raises the question of whether this principle is still followed today. For example, it should be noted that cocaine has become accepted in all major cities. In nightlife, cocaine is as easy to buy as a beer. In the „better“ bars, there is de facto no repression at all, while in a nearby park, dealers of small amounts are arrested. Cocaine also has a firm place in conjunction with another drug, alcohol. Being able to drink a lot of alcohol and still remain sane is a tradition in European culture. Cocaine reliably helps with this, which is why it has a lot of appeal in business circles and in the political scene. To someone with a trained view, the symptoms are not hidden in interviews and talk shows.

There is no human society without drugs and there never will be. So why are they banned? The decisive factor is how they are dealt with. If parents today don’t want to leave the education about drugs, their risks and in case of doubt about the best way to take them to a dealer, they have to do it themselves. On the contrary, prohibitions only arouse interest. The dealer issue has another effect in the context of illegality. Dealers are shrewd businessmen. They don’t have just one drug in stock, but a whole bellyful of substances. Adolescents who actually only wanted to smoke weed get small bags of pills, a few grams of heroin or cocaine. The taste of the forbidden can be very tempting. In this way, cannabis, for which there is no evidence that it makes heroin attractive, indirectly becomes a first-time drug. However, I have never met anyone since the age of 16 who did not drink alcohol before smoking cannabis.

If I follow the official statements of some police unionists and party representatives, they either really have no idea or they must have smoked really bad dope. For example, the tweets of Rainer Wendt (German Police Union) describe LSD or mushroom trips, but this has nothing to do with the effect of weed or hash smoked in moderation. I also don’t understand why the police unions let themselves be used by the proponents of prohibition. They should rather think about the predicament they put a large part of their members in. The number of consumers alone gives an idea of how many of them are in the police service. And if you take a closer look at the working conditions, you’ll see that there are a lot more drugs involved. Anyone who assumes that only alcoholics are on the police force must be very naive indeed.

Two principles apply to drugs: It is not the drug that seeks the user, but the user seeks the one that suits him. From this comes the second principle. Show me which drugs are predominant and I will know how your society is organized. Some people push themselves up so that they can withstand the pressure to perform and are not left behind at speed, others can no longer stand it and decide to slow down. A lot has to do with the biochemical reward system of the human brain. Success, the praise, the goal scored, the jubilation, the promotion, the higher annual salary, the new car at the door, all this triggers a kick. But you have to do a lot for it, throw yourself into the hamster wheel (That’s what we call daily work stress in Germany) and the feeling is short-lived. With drugs like alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines, it’s easier and faster. None of this is healthy or passes the body without a trace. Incidentally, this also applies to the hamster wheel. Remarkably, the banned cannabis, of all things, carries fewer risks than nicotine or alcohol, both of which are cellular poisons. Some cry out at this point, „But they’ve found that it can cause psychosis.“ Yeah, so what? Ever observed teenage hard drinkers? Spoken to them later as adults? Or seen children where the mothers abused legal alcohol during pregnancy? The topic of discussion is not: everyone should use drugs from now on at the direction of the health insurance company because it is so healthy. It’s about the lifting of a ban and the end of criminalization.

The discussion is long overdue. 2021 means that at least one generation of „stoners“ will have reached retirement age and be approaching 80. Woodstock was in August, 1969! The old 68ers (a German student movement in the late sixties) are sitting in their retirement home smoking pot and still dreaming that something will change. So what? The slogan: „Don’t walk on the grass, smoke it!“, is also more than 30 years old. If cannabis actually had terrible consequences, we would have known it by now. Yes, it may induce a certain sluggishness or over-relaxed state of mind in some. But that’s more cliché than overwhelming reality. But anyone who uses it as an argument has already lost. I then quickly calculate what alcohol costs us. Traffic accidents, accidents at work, acts of violence, treatment costs, addiction consequences, crime, the list is long. As I said before, cannabis has long been widespread among the population. There is not an „evil“ wave coming our way, it is a matter of adjusting the laws to reality, or better yet, correcting something that has always been wrong.

It’s no secret that the puritans, religious zealots, determine events in the USA from time to time. For a long time, there were no major problems with cannabis. Except maybe the fact that Mexican immigrants had marijuana in their luggage and were demonized with it. (North Africans/hash, Indians/hash, South Americans/cocaine, you know the drill.) Until Prohibition failed (among other things, they feared at the time that workers would lose their efficiency – and that’s not possible under capitalism!). The head of the Prohibition office was then unemployed in one fell swoop. But then Harry J. Anslinger started with massive propaganda attacks against narcotics, especially cannabis. I would not be surprised if he was advised by Edward Bernays, a very active propaganda specialist at the time. And who is surprised that already at that time there was talk about a „hatchet attack“ of a teenager on his parents triggered by cannabis. This hardly ever happens in the USA. In 2021, there will be a new edition in the German media. However, the axe was exchanged for a knife. What follows after Anslinger is history, which everyone can read about.

Heroin and pot came to Berlin – West in the luggage of the Allies. They knew no other way to help themselves than to initiate criminal prosecutions. The consequences were horror. Child prostitution, dead pushers in train station toilets, corruption, destroyed families, misery, everything you can imagine. Only methadone brought relief. Already at the beginning of the 80s, weed was smoked at every party, in every youth club and high school playground. Later, with the techno movement, the amphetamine flood came along. As far as I have witnessed, cocaine then spread from the mid-80s via the red light milieu into the chic scene and was at some point everywhere. Fact: All the investigations, prison sentences, millions of hours, raids, observations, brought nothing but ruin.

The prohibition originates from a time when there was a dominant social group that held the belief that the citizen would be impressed by prohibitions. But these were also the ones with „No sex before marriage!“, „Onanism is harmful!“, „The doctrine of evolution is blasphemy“, „Homosexuality is dangerous“, i.e. the hardcore – version of the Junge Union (youth organization of the German conservative party CDU). I think legalization and a fundamental reformation of drug policy is the only feasible way and a logical reaction to reality. Some may think that there are more important issues. This then overlooks the fact that it is a domino that triggers many things in its wake. Probably some are afraid exactly of these consequences, because among others the loss of authority belongs to it.

Translated with the help of DeepL – Translate

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