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Germany will legalize marijuana and promote drug harm reduction (marijuanamoment.net)
125 points by siva7 2 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 89 comments

Hah, I can't believe that Germany (of all EU countries) will likely be legalizing cannabis before the Netherlands.

This is good news, though.

They are not going to. I have not heard any plans to allow home growing, and I don't expect there will be anything that could cut into the tax profits. That means it is still prohibited in the most basic form. It's sinister.

Well, it’s viridis.

Hopefully, as strongest economy in EU finally gets some sanity re weed other countries not only in the bloc will follow. No reason to vilify (non-trivial) part of the population that just wants some relax in these trying times.

Give users selection. Filter and punish misuse with same criteria as alcohol. Anything above doesn't make much sense.

Also funny is like police unions quickly protested against, I guess significant part of their 'success' is coming from this. In US I think also companies owning private prisons push anti-legalization propaganda. As they say, just follow the money...

My belief is that after Germany push for legalisation we will probably see France, the Netherlands, Belgium and maybe Spain and Portugal following on the next 5 years.

For the rest of the block I believe it will be a very slow push, probably only after seeing the benefits for the budgets of countries legalising through new taxes that will push politicians to chase the money.

I don't think Sweden will see any kind of reform or push for legalisation on the next 10 years, the anti-drugs policies and general environment is pretty strong since the 70s (or way before if you consider the failed prohibition movement from the early 20th century).

> think also companies owning private prisons push anti-legalization propaganda. As they say, just follow the money...

There is way more propaganda in favor of legalization. And more money can be made selling cannabis than was ever made with prisional system.

I've read books, read papers about cannabis. There isnt enough information to make any claim weather legalization would cause a net positive or negative change in society.

Because of this, people usually goes into more philosophical argumentation. Which is fine.

But it is funny seeing people arguing that cannabis should be legalized because freedom. But are not OK with people using the same argument for not taking vaccines.

(I know this "nuanced", still find funny)

Let's see if the government will stay alive for long enough to actually promote the law. It's the first government after-Merkel, I am really curious how things will go...

Good news. The momentum is becoming irresistible and irreversible.

This isn't about momentum for legalization. That was never lost on Germany. However, 21.3% of people allowed to vote are 70+ years old here. Make that 38.2% for 60+ years old. Germany wouldn't have suffered 16 years of conservative neglect and stagnation, if it wasn't for the "not really interested in politics at my age anymore" and the literally demented. Honestly, we only got a chance to a future, pay the infrastructure debt and undo the shameful stagnation in social progression, because the CDU managed to run with a total dimwit and a series of their typical corruption uncovered right before election. I am worried, we're fucked beyond repair to be honest, though.

From my outsider’s perspective as an American, Germany has always looked like a well functioning, stable nation. I see here a transition from slight right of center to slight left of center, and a corresponding policy shift that will place you at the vanguard of progressivism on drug policy. Nothing about this seems “fucked,” it seems very good and even impressive.

I get how it may seem that way, I believed that myself for the longest time. The problem is that the CDU abstained from any infrastructure investments in the last 16 years for the sake of preventing national debt. Because of that, e.g. schools and digitization are in a horribly neglected state. Same for future proof industries in tech and renewable energies (where Germany once led the field). Rents are destabilizing the social fabric, pensions are not expected for the younger generations, ... there is soooo much debt everywhere - but the books look good, I guess. The CDU is deeply corrupt and basically didn't care for setting up Germany for its future, when times were fundamentally changing on all fronts.

And now I am not sure a new government can realistically fix any of that, especially since at least the FDP doesn't want new debt either. Debt is not the fucking problem, if it's invested in the future's welfare. God damn libertarians. Total cringe.

I can’t get super happy about this because it should never have been illegal in the first place. Thanks for reverting something incredibly dumb.

But this also makes me mad. They chose to legalize one of many wrongly illegalized substances and now barely mention the others (testing, boo hoo). They better do some criminalization (obligatory Portugal reference).

DE-criminalization, of course.

Things will change when cannabis users (in Germany) stopped treated like criminals

Where is "here"?

The article mentions it is decriminalized in DE.

It's not really decriminalized. While you don't have to fear criminal prosecution in most cases (unless you're in Bavaria) they will punish you by taking away your driving license, even if you never actually drove under influence.

not just that: employers, insurances and banks could use this information against you (police record = bad business)

"decriminalised", but given "right circumstances" will screw you for years

If you don't have a driver's license what else can they do to you?

Leave a mark in your police record, something that might impact your odds of getting a job in a lot of industries.

It's similar here in Sweden, even though Swedish policies are much more draconian against drug users (supposedly the most draconian from all of OECD countries), weed consumption as a regular user will probably not lead to prosecution and/or prison time but it will be registered in your police record for 5 years and impact your life in multiple ways.

How hard is it to imagine that an hn user is not based in the us?

How hard is it to imagine that an hn user is referring to "here" as hn?

very easy since I’m not.

what did you understand or infer from my message?

this question tells more about your own biases rather than the commenter above honestly.

we should probably put on our thinking hats and use the powers of deduction to figure out he is in place where it is not legal

It is not obvious though if they mean Germany, where it is still illegal right now, and they are looking forward to the change, or if it is another country where it is illegal right now and the would like to see the same change happening.

It's only right thing to do. Fingers crossed it won't get derailed.

This sounds like a distraction to cover actual issues right now.

In Germany 3 political parties have just reached an agreement to form a coalition. This means they have had to get together and agree on a common position somewhere between the policies they campaigned on. No-one gets into Government in Germany unless they are prepared to compromise.

The policy document is 177 pages long and covers every possible subject. Naturally people cherry pick the paragraphs they find most interesting. So there was no specific policy announcement about this, but neither could they avoid saying something.

To say Germany "will legalise marijuana" is probably even a bit strong. There is no guarantee of when, if at all these policies will actually be implemented. It is unlikely all of them will be.

This is a minor section of the coalition contract, and maybe the only point the parties agreed upon right from the beginning of talks. Kinda non-news, really.

You see this on HN, because people want their big cannabis stocks go up. Btw. I very much doubt those will end up owning the biz in Germany, as the modalities of legalization will differ from what's happening in North America.

So your theory is that soon everybody will be so stoned that they stop caring about everything else or whom is this distraction supposed to be targetted on?

I'm pretty sure his theory is that the whole discussion about cannabis is a distraction from other political topics, i.e. that our new Kanzler was one of the people responsible for the biggest corruption scandal in Germanys history (Google his name + CumEx) and other similar stuff.

It's not so much what people are gonna do once it's passed and more about what controversial topics they can raise so people don't pay attention to other things.

I personally have never had a worse outlook on Germanys political future. This will show any politician that they don't have to worry about anything and keep enriching themselves with no recourse to speak of.

I don't see anything which would serve as a base for this assumption.

Barely anyone outside the youth bubble cares about this topic atm and I don't see it changing anytime soon. Nothing is being clouded by it and it won't be. I'd be surprised if it generates more than one BILD headline when they come up with an actual law. It surely won't be the headline of tomorrow.

> I personally have never had a worse outlook on Germanys political future. This will show any politician that they don't have to worry about anything and keep enriching themselves with no recourse to speak of.

I guess this is the actual source of your assumption. Your perception is being clouded by something which seems to radiate a vision of Germany where the past years of standing still is something which you consider having been better than the program we just got today.

Meanwhile, in reality we're finally moving. Important topics will be actually grabbed and moved. There are more good ideas in this program than within the combined time of Merkel together and all you are talking about is: "Scholz bad" & "something something cannabis".

Hope this won't lead to more smoking in public places. Every time I notice people consuming or having have had consumed the drug in some form, I found it even more insufferable than day-to-day cigarettes.

In Berlin tobacco and weed smoke is everywhere. I don't really see how legalizing weed would make it any worse. People already smoke it in bars and on the streets and Germany loves their cigarettes too...

Sure, in cities like Berlin I am not surprised to here that more people consume it. But outside of big cities, I rarely encounter it. The only reason I don't like this legalisation, is that with the drug being more easy to obtain, more people might smoke it, leading to more smoke in public (at train stations, in parks, ...). I hope I am wrong, but intuitively this seems plausible.

It seems fairly obvious that the subset of circumstances in which you become aware someone HAS ingested a drug (and is therefore intoxicated) would be more annoying than the superset of circumstances in which you merely see that someone is beginning to consume a drug.

Not necessarily. If it's the smoke and smell that bothers me rather than intoxicated antics, I might be more annoyed by someone lighting up at the coffee table next to mine than if they were just sitting there stoned out of their mind.

Totally legit. I smoke at home or hidden away from sight or bothering others with the smell. I was referring to the op who is seemed to say they were irritated by other’s consuming cannabis, which irritates me, as it’s some apparatus designed to mess me up with no regard to my preference in remaining unmussed.

There must have been a misunderstanding. I don't care about consumption per se, just the effect that smoking in public spaces has on my nose.

You know what has more effect on my nose in public spaces than any smoke?

The stink of people, be it perfume, deodorant, hairspray, or the utter lack of washing and cleaning hair and clothes, sometimes even their breath from afar.

Well at least pre-corona. Now I don't notice it so often, since I don't share that much space & time with them anymore.

Anyway, that can even cause tears in my eyes and a strange sting in the nose, making it run. Smoke of any kind doesn't.

I’ve smoked daily since I was 14. I don’t get intoxicated, it’s my psychiatric meds, and I don’t take kindly to meddlesome youngsters who think they know how to run my life better than I do, lol… /s ironic sarcastic reference to the notion that someone could ever be more sober or miserable than I am. I only work and have basically no fun and I’ve not had a day off in years, so I wish to be clear that people who character cannabis users as either lazy or intoxicated are tiresome and ignorant.

I’m unclear on what you are complaining about: other people enjoying other vices than your own or air pollution. While a particular odor to the stated air pollution can involve a personal preference, the odor is question arguably emits fewer carcinogenic substances and the rolling papers and filters involved certainly pollute less. Single-pull pipe smoking is rather common in some places, meaning the consumer makes one inhalation and exhalation of smoke and is done, not to mention the ubiquitous vaporizer. I do hope you aren’t merely trodding on the relief of cannabis consumers not being legally repressed anymore, as that would be a prejudice 100+ years out of date.

One additional point: you mention “having had consumed” meaning you feel at liberty to decide what other humans mental states should be?

HN guidelines: “Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.”, and “Be kind. Don't be snarky.”. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

I presumed the commenter is just extremely sensitive to the smell. The people I know like that don’t have a choice - it seems they are biologically like that.

They could have meant what you said… You could politely discover what they mean. If they were being rude, then perhaps try and help them to be more polite, to create a better community here. And IMHO downvoting is quick and appropriate if the comment is low value or inflammatory.

Edit: you are inflaming the situation with multiple low quality comments on the parent comment - please don’t do that. I am not a mod - I am just a user that wants this to be a friendly and informative place for everyone including you.

> I presumed the commenter is just extremely sensitive to the smell. The people I know like that don’t have a choice - it seems they are biologically like that.

Yes, I should said this more explicitly.

I’ve addressed all your concerns in other comments here. I do believe that you should follow your own proposals and see that I mean no snark and am 100 earnest and engaged here. Please do read my other comments here. I have a personal stake in this and as such the OP is definitively treading on the tips of my toes, and it hurts, please stop.

As per sibling comment, you have misread the OP. The OP could have been clearer, but often that is due to writing in another language, which seems very possible when the base topic is about Germany.

I don’t feel you answered my concerns at all.

It appears to me that your comments are similar behaviour to that you are accusing the OP of. If others think your responses are inflammatory, you are likely to get moderated. Your history of responses gets reviewed when considering moderation. Perhaps you are having a bad day, or even a bad life, but please try and follow the HN guidelines.

I apologise that my comments come across to you as snarky, and that I have upset you. I put my time and effort into writing carefully, and I feel that I have been writing with good intention and in good faith: heaven knows whether my subconscious agrees!

If anybodies comments, including my own, are inappropriate or in poor form then that is what the flagging system is for. If you think a comment is seriously outside of the norms, then you can email the moderators and ask for their help.

Edit: Everybody expects disagreement here, and sometimes there are wildly divergent opinions on a topic. What matters is how you express your disagreement, and how others judge the tone and form of your comments. I am writing down the facts as I understand them: I am not trying to attack you or your opinions. I am still trying to learn how to write clearly without inflaming the situation, and unfortunately I often fail.

While smoking cigarettes isn't illegal, it is certainly not a good look any more - thanks to controls on how it can be advertised and where it is allowed and the concentrated advertising campaign linking smoking to cancer.

I can see marijuana taking a similar trajectory.

Excepting that it’s not linked to cancer. Grant you that the majority of German “kieferen” mix with tobacco, as is the fashion. Tobacco is unhealthy, all medical evidence suggests completely different results from long term pure cannabis consumption and either alcohol or tobacco consumption. Hopefully regulators will consider evidence when determining appropriate regulations

This is basically my hope too. I don't want the advances that have been made in removing tobacco from public spaces to be undone by legalising marijuana. It is great that it won't be treated as a criminal act to use/possess/sell it, but I don't want this to make smoking (be it with a different substance) more acceptable.

ok, I'll bite. Why is it worse, I mean "insufferable"?

The whole point is not to be hunted for the horrible crime of smoking a joint. Is it any worse than drinking coffee or something? I think not but you obviously have your reservations.

> Is it any worse than drinking coffee or something?

Yeah, that's the nature of smoking. You're forcing everyone else around you to breathe your smoke and smell your dank weed.

You can drink your coffee, but you wouldn't try to force your coffee down my throat.

Hey, I am not advocating smoking of any kind near other people. That's just wrong.

Just saying there are all kinds of bad smells/stuff in the air. I, for one, can't stand most cars. They smell bad and make a lot of noise.

I find it hard to breathe in spaces where people had either smoked Marijuana. The smell of something like coffee is far less invasive, so it doesn't disturb me as much.

This morning I went outside and my city smelled like shit because of pig farms that are over a hundred miles away.

As a recovering addict I’m quite mixed about legalisation. On one hand it helps out a lot of people and removes stigma around a form of indulgence. At the same time this is probably creating orders of magnitude more addicts. The adverse effects of a strong dependence can be severe: from people letting life blast past them without much realisation to lung/brain function/psychological disorders. I wish we could have a proper debate about this to work out a regulated form of legalisation. Somehow this too is politicised and there’s a lot of misinformation (“weed is not addictive “ etc) so we get the bipolar version of this issue as we do with pretty much everything else these days

> probably creating orders of magnitude more addicts

[citation needed]

Cannabis “addicts” Which has dubious harm potential, considering that not a single human being has ever fatally overdosed on cannabis in the history of the world.

I’m not justifying my choice of vice, merely pointing out that it’s safer than coffee

Harm potential is not dubious.

Do browse r/leaves subreddit to see how many people struggle with it

Also the little (but becoming increasingly more) known cannabinoid induced hyperemesis.

It's also very well established that cannabis can cause psychosis[1] or depersonalization disorder[2]. Most conversations around cannabis risks usually just reference teens but that's just because there is a strong link between early teen cannabis psychosis and schizophrenia.

My understanding is adults over 30, while way less likely to develop schizophrenia are not immune to transient cannabis induced psychosis or DPDR,

1. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/cannabis-induced-psych...

2. https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.20...

If there’s x% chance of addiction and the availability increases by few orders of magnitude wouldn’t it naturally follow?


There is precedent in various US states and a handful of countries.

Cost benefit analysis of what is actually happening in these places is a key motivator for the continued wave of legalization around the world.

This is much studied.

DYOR but here's a start:



Also, I'm not sure if you literally mean "a few orders of magnitude" or are using that phrase to simply mean "an increase".

TIL thanks.

By few OOM, I mean that the use is very small now due to taboo and legal barriers that it is likely to be faaar more pervasive once they go away. But your data seems to contradict this so I need to do more research

Is the use very small now? In the US, even before state-by-state decriminalization, anyone who wanted it could quite easily get it. There will be an uptick in consumption once it’s more convenient to buy and has better QC and labeling, but I’d be shocked if overall use even doubled let alone went up 100x.

Germany is not Singapore. You won't face any legal consequences in most places for minor possession, and even dealing weed won't necessarily get you prison time. In Germany everyone who wants to smoke weed, smokes weed, legal or not. It's really, really prevalent as of now.

No. Because availability is high already. Especially for teenagers who are most vulnerable to addiction. Also, making it legal can also help promoting safe usage, rather than simply pretending the problem doesn't exist.

> Also, making it legal can also help promoting safe usage

This is one of the main arguments that I support for legalisation.

I grew up in Brazil, living there up to my late 20s, moved to Sweden and have lived here for the best part of a decade. Drug education in both countries is abysmal. Abysmal and dangerous, pushing people into ignorance and killing users in the process because they are simply ignorant about dangers, dosage, etc.

In Brazil the D.A.R.E. program was imported and used in public schools for a long time, I went through it in 4th grade, the program is taught by a police officer coming every week to class to basically repeat Nancy Reagan's stupidity "Just say no!". There is no deeper exploration of the topic, just say no.

In Sweden from what I can gather through friends that were educated here, drug education is basically the same as in Brazil, just say no to drugs and all drugs are equivalent. I have a friend that was terrified for years as a teenager when she found out her sister smoked pot, she was taught in school that pot, heroin, cocaine, all are equally dangerous and will kill you over time, no matter what. For 2 years this girl lived with the anxiety of not wanting to tell on her sister and at the same time in absolute fear for her sister's life.

Drug users in Sweden are absolutely irresponsible due to their ignorance. It's hard to find people who actually know the basics of harm reduction. The danger is compounded by the fear of actually calling an ambulance if needed, because in Sweden it's not only illegal to possess, sell, distribute drugs but also to consume them, if some drug's trace is found in a blood or urine test then that, by itself, is a crime that could be prosecuted. People simply avoid calling an ambulance in dangerous drug situations due to this draconian policy, as a result Sweden has the highest death rate of drug users in the whole EU, something like 25x the rate of Portugal and 20x the rate of the Netherlands.

Education is necessary in all aspects of life and the war on drugs made education about drugs absolutely atrocious even in supposedly progressive and well-educated societies.

No, anybody who wants weed knows how to get some, of questionable quality, elevated price and can't avoid mingling with people who more often than not deal with hard drugs, illegal weapons etc.

I would expect the opposite in fact - legal stuff loses quite a bit of its cool factor for youth, its not much rebelling if you can buy it in shop just around the corner, with better quality and effect you exactly prefer. Added tax revenue is just a bonus.

Even strong cannabis usage is very easy to wean off compared to hard stuff like alcohol or tobacco... which is completely legal.

> questionable quality, elevated price and can't avoid mingling with people who more often than not deal with hard drugs, illegal weapons etc.

How many people have stayed away from weed or used it less frequently due to these reasons? If they were to go away and weed was just another shop like it is here in SF, don’t you think the consumption would spike?

Agree with the cool factor being undercut. But weed he hella fun and can get you hooked.

Take it from someone who has struggled with recovery: it’s not easy to quit. I suggest you browse r/leaves subreddit to see how many people struggle with it

no. legalisation or at least decriminalisation can lead to less use, as was the case in portugal for instance.

Are you suggesting that I should remain in the legal shadows due to your inability to manage cannabis consumption?

In a way. Many people can text and drive but it’s advised against for everybody for a reason. it’s an extreme example but it illustrates a point that ultimately it’s a trade off between liberty and having guard rails. I’m just disappointed that we seem to be going from one extreme to the other without considering intermediate options.

Well, it’s clear that we are at loggerheads. I fundamentally disagree with and resent your position (you are trying to restrict my daily psychiatric medicines and the closest thing to a religious sacrament this old atheist can acknowledge) but I don’t think its appropriate to hijack this thread to debate this alleged issue. I won’t be visiting Reddit to hear about the alleged harm cannabis causes some people, and as I’ve stated, there’s never been a single overdose for cannabis in the history of the world. I wish you will find your peace without trying to step on my freedom as my use of cannabis does not harm me nor society nor you.

From the article, it doesn't sound like an extreme at all. The sale and consumption of weed products seems to be quite limited to certain places. But at the end of the day, this is all about regulating something that people are doing regardless of legality. People can be severely addicted to gambling, eating, and sex. Addiction's a mental illness that should be treat as such, without punishing the whole world for it.

I'm sure we'll get a lot discussion once the tabu is gone. People were reluctant to talk about it because of fear from stigma and prosecution. Most of the people you've heard talking about it were either "kids" or artists (musicians, comedians, etc.).

Mostly off topic but when I read these stories I'm always irked at the use of "marijuana" instead of cannabis. Maybe because I'm in Toronto where cannabis is fully legal and every store around me that sells it uses cannabis - not to mention the products all use that term as well.

Marijuana just seems like your using old, slightly racist terminology. And makes me think of 4/20 BLAZE IT kind of crap. Which is probably why companies here use cannabis to go after the non "taking this is my entire lifestyle" crowd.

Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. I cannot imagine how the term is racist. But the fact thay it makes you think of 420, that’s just you.

> The use of "marihuana" in American English increased dramatically in the 1930s, when it was preferred as an exotic-sounding alternative name during debates on the drug's use. It has been suggested that in the United States the word was promoted by opponents of the drug, who wanted to stigmatize it with a "foreign-sounding name".


"It has been suggested" sounds like some weasel words from someone who doesn't want to back their claims. Even if this is true, who actually cares if people from the 30's thought foreign sounding words were scary? Shouldn't we strive to stick it to those fuddy duddies by continuing to use the actual Spanish word without fear?

Marijuana was like a barely existing Spanish slang promoted at the beginning of cannabis being illegal in the first half of the 20th century to make cannabis seem more foreign and worthy of a ban.

It's definitely suspicious at least. If you really want you can view it as more cynically exploiting existing prejudice than prejudiced in and of itself, but I am not sure that is much of an exoneration.

Language evolves. The use is uncontroversial today and specifically refers to the flower.

We're all aware of previously uncontroversial words that are taboo today. The reverse can happen as well.

Sure, but also it just sounds weird to use a ramming together of names in Spanish as the formal word for anything in English. Especially when the thing comes from Asia.

I agree with parent. Cannabis and marijuana are synonymous. Marijuana is more negatively connoted. I'd prefer to use Cannabis which is more neutral.

Saying marijuana is fine. It is offensive toward literally no group of people. Seems to me that some people are always looking for something to get offended about nowadays in order to control everybody else's speech.

If you'll believe it, here in 2021 the state of New York passed a law with "marihuana" (sic) in the name!

That's exactly what it is. I make a point to use the term cannabis, as marijuana is simply slang with racist connotations attached due to the propaganda of the war on drugs

For similar reasons, I refer to burritos as tortilla bean wraps.

Ah yes, I remember all the propaganda hit pieces demonizing burritos.

How is "marijuana" racist?

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