On April 19th, Annalena Baerbock was elected as the Green Party candidate for chancellor. It should come as no surprise that Annalena Baerbock was given the candidacy. A few years ago, most people would have guessed that the candidacy would have been given to her now co-leader, Robert Habeck. However, through her qualities, Annalena Baerbock has proven to be the right candidate for a chance at the job.
Germans will have to wait for September to know if their nation will have a Green head-of-state. In the meantime, the Greens have already introduced new campaign promises that make them an attractive option to the general voter. A speed limit on Germany’s autobahn and accelerating the transition from coal power are examples of Germany’s Green Party campaign issues. The idea of most campaigns is to offer solutions for a broad society. The party hopes to offer policies that are inviting and have clear objectives.
The latest campaign issue was announced the day following the announcement of Annalena Baerbock’s candidacy for chancellor, on April 20th. More commonly referred to as 4/20, April 20th has become a staple in the international cannabis culture. The day marks an international celebration of its use and represents a protest against its prohibition for recreational purposes.
The Greens did not miss the opportunity to showcase their position on the matter with a tweet and a 420 hashtag. The Greens tweeted: “Cannabis is the most consumed illegal drug in Germany — the proportion of minors consuming it is increasing. For real youth & health protection, there must be rules for the trade and controlled distribution of cannabis!”.
The latest research from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) showed that cannabis consumption has drastically increased amongst younger people in recent years. 46
,.4% of 18 to 25-year-olds reported having consumed marijuana at least once. The study also shows a 10% increase amongst 12 to 17-year-olds.
Opposing political position by the CDU/CSU
Current leaders of the parliament, the Liberal Conservatives (CDU/CSU) have always had the same position on cannabis: it should be prohibited. Both CDU and CSU are aware that consumption is increasing and wish to decrease recreational use. In response to the increasing consumption, the Federal Government Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs and member of CSU, Daniela Ludwig, stated:
“The figures prove how important it is to educate young people about the health risks of cannabis use and to make it perfectly clear to them that smoking pot is not cool, but can be harmful to health! It’s not for nothing that we have therefore launched a new cannabis prevention program”Daniela Ludwig, Federal Government Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs
Last year, the CSU/CDU rejected a proposal for a cannabis control bill. The two parties argued that any form of legalization would lead to increased consumption. Stephan Pilsinger, a member of the conservatives, pointed out that German society is already plagued with too many cases of alcohol and cigarette addiction. Adding cannabis to the mix would only further strain German society. The matter becomes more about personal freedom than anything else.
It should also be noted that Angela Merkel’s party is the last major political party in Germany still in favor of prohibiting cannabis for recreational use. Currently, CSU/CDU has authorized the use of cannabis for medicinal alternatives. Indeed, the CSU/CDU is not completely against the usage of marijuana as cannabis can be prescribed in Germany. With the permission of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, cannabis can be grown and distributed for medical purposes.
A Green alternative
An educational program may prove ineffective in reducing recreational use in younger generations. The Greens believe that regulations on distribution may prove much more effective in preventing cannabis consumption amongst younger users. A few western nations have shown that the legalization of cannabis helps prevent teenage consumption, as a 2018 study shows.
As the distribution moves from the hand of dealers towards licensed dispensaries, proof of age becomes required. More and more countries and associations are pushing for the decriminalization of marijuana. The legalization of marijuana will also help to shift a large number of resources from low-level possession prevention. In turn, the resources would be used towards risk reduction and prevention for teenagers.
The Greens intend to pass legislation allowing the purchase of 30 grams and recreational use of marijuana for adults. It will also allow adults to cultivate at most 3 plants of cannabis in their homes. It also hopes to implement regulation and supervising systems for the cultivation of cannabis, its distribution, and its trade. The position of the Green Party may prove to be very valuable in the upcoming parliamentary elections, especially amongst younger voters.