Saturday, March 12, 2016

The fight against cannabis legalization - German style

The blogster loves patterns so much that it* is overjoyed when another pattern seems to take shape. Some patterns make good sense, nothing nefarious about them, except when there are outliers in some publications and not in others.

Today's case in point is the annual report on the number of drug deaths by Germany's federal bureau of criminal investigation BKA. 

The reporting ritual involves stating the number of drug deaths (1226 in 2015), any increase or decrease from last year's number, a breakdown by the kind of drugs that caused the deaths, and a blurb on noteworthy developments, for example, drug contamination or changes in supply routes or organizations. Then you get the huge numbers of deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco.
The reader comments sections of the major papers remain open for this topic, which means you get the usual slug fest between legalization advocates and hard core prohibitionists.

Two days later, everybody has moved on, and the same pattern will repeat next year.

Except that hard core prohibitionists have been facing waning support by the population and, as a result, seem to be upping the danger game.

Nationwide poll trends for cannabis in Germany continue to shift towards decriminalization (56% supported continued criminalization four years ago, down to 38% today). Half of Germany's criminal law experts signed a petition calling for decriminalization of pot. The Green party has drafted a cannabis control and decriminalization bill. Add to this the news of state level legalization in the U.S., and you can clearly see that prohibitionists are searching for new arguments to maintain the ban.

What's left against the demon?
1) Protection of teens and young adults
2) Increased potency (much higher THC content)
3) Gateway drug (yes, still using this), traffic accidents

Before we continue, here is a fun observation on the side: this list exactly matches the Russian media ( reporting on cannabis. Yet, in the same edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) used below, the FAZ Kremlin watchers complained bitterly about the Russian propaganda machine and its effort to undermine Germany and the EU. **

The FAZ article "Call of the 'soft' drug" combines the laundry list into an article framed by the tragic suicides of two brothers, claiming cannabis was responsible.
The article starts out with the suicides of C., at age 30, and his brother F. at age 34 ten months later, from an upper middle class family.

After that intro, it goes on to describe the suffering of the father, a top exec, and the mother, a physician, and then provides the statistics and some medical research findings on the danger of cannabis to teens and young adults. Only later does the newspaper reader get more information, such as the use of multiple drugs, Ritalin, stints in closed psych wards. Much of the tragic history of the two young men remains unresolved, and any role of the father's strict anti-drug stance and the mother's more lenient views is not clarified.

Of course, the FAZ article does not mention that all proposed legalization initiatives place tremendous emphasis on protecting teens and young adults and instead simply reiterates the gateway drug argument when bringing up the use of mushrooms, speed and crystal meth by the brothers.

Since prohibition failed to save the lives of the brothers, the appeal is "it could happen to your promising, bright children, too".

The blogster has lost someone to drugs, has volunteered in helping people through "harm reduction", and eventually arrived at the exact opposite conclusion of the prohibition advocates: you save people through decriminalization, and even the "illness" solution has its problems when you medicate and put people into closed psych wards. 

* We follow a strict policy of gender neutrality at the K-Landnews. To eliminate temper tantrums of TheEditor.
** No, we don't know if the FAZ russophobes were high when they wrote their piece.

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