Prudent legalization: Lauterbach relies on "safety first" when it comes to cannabis

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has not been in favor of cannabis legalization for a long time.

Prudent legalization: Lauterbach relies on "safety first" when it comes to cannabis

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has not been in favor of cannabis legalization for a long time. This is also due to private experience, explains the 59-year-old. Although he has now changed his mind, the most important principle is "Safety First".

The legalization of intoxicating cannabis products is fast approaching. At the end of a series of expert hearings, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach from the SPD spoke out in favor of a controlled distribution of the intoxicant without punishment. However, the most important principle must be: "Safety First". The focus of the planned new regulation must be the protection of children and young people, said Lauterbach. Because cannabis abuse can "destroy a life in young people before it has really started".

The final specialist conference this Thursday was preceded by four expert hearings organized by the Federal Ministry of Health. There, more than 200 experts from various disciplines exchanged views on the pros and cons of cannabis legalization.

Lauterbach admitted that he "long thought that cannabis shouldn't be legalized". But he changed his mind: "The repressive approach to cannabis has failed," he said. "The risks of current practice are greater than what could be achieved with a controlled levy."

According to Lauterbach, there are currently more and more harmful contaminants in illegally traded cannabis. With a controlled delivery, on the other hand, the quality can be controlled. In addition, the illegal cannabis market is becoming "more and more aggressive"; People are introduced to the drug at a young age.

The minister made it clear: "What we do not want is that we play down cannabis." Cannabis is always associated with health risks from which children and young people in particular must be protected. Young people in particular could "very often fall by the wayside in terms of school and professional training" when consuming cannabis, said Lauterbach. He referred to his own childhood experiences with cannabis in his environment: "Good friends of mine became addicted, later switched to other drugs and died."

The traffic light parties had agreed on the controlled release of cannabis in their coalition agreement. They want to present a bill by the end of the year; the results are to be evaluated after four years. Most federal states already waive criminal prosecution for the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

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