The #Weedmob, the community that regularly trending on Twitter with hashtags like #DecriminalizationNow or #Legalization2023 and fires up the discourse about the release of cannabis for consumption purposes, does not miss a single tweet on the topic of cannabis. Everything that the responsible members of the government say is immediately shared, commented on and hotly discussed. Thus, the currently leaked draft law on the so-called "Pillar 1" was quickly followed by a storm of indignation. And quite rightly so. Because what is left of the originally so full-bodied election promise of a complete and very well thought-out legalization of cannabis for adults, mocks the name and does not even begin to meet the great goal of a widespread eradication of the black market.
The licensed specialist stores announced in the coalition agreement have given way in the latest draft to so-called cannabis clubs with strictly limited membership and even stricter conditions. What is behind Mr. Lauterbach's abstruse ideas has neither the charm of Spanish social clubs, nor should it be subject to the usual laws of typical German associations.
A supply of cannabis, about whose consumption Lauterbach recently blatantly said in Markus Lanz's program that in his opinion it would be best not to have it at all, is to be ensured by cultivation in strange associations, extensively controlled by the authorities and then, if possible, carried out by the grateful stoner alone at home, in a quiet chamber. Or after 20 o'clock in the pedestrian precinct.
In the cultivation club itself, however, lighting a sports cigarette while gardening is strictly forbidden.
The people in charge of these cultivation cooperatives are to be exclusively slick types, next to whom even the Bachelor would look like a member of the Hells Angels. Of course, because after all they are also supposed to register and control the members and their consumption habits, and in the end of course they are personally liable for any violations committed by the members.
After the collective horror about the plans of the Minister of Health to introduce clubs instead of specialized stores, which had been known for a few weeks, had almost subsided, the leak of the concrete draft law now brought final certainty: what one wants to sell to the people as legalization is rather a kind of Prohibition 2.0.
Worse still. Because at the same time it could probably become the most valuable gift to organized crime since Harry Anslinger. To complete the madness in the most consistent way, Lauterbach has come up with even more nasty bullshit.
Self-cultivation in the garden, on the balcony or in a small grow tent is a good, comparatively inexpensive way of self-sufficiency and runs very counter to the black market. Already with a little skill and a lot of diligence you can cover your own needs. If you also have a green thumb, you can supply even your closest friends with good quality at a reasonable price.
After initial uncertainty as to whether the new government would also give the green light for hobby gardeners, great joy and relief spread when it became public that Lauterbach, after initial reluctance, now wanted to allow the cultivation of at least 3 flowering, female plants per adult person.
What we have laughed... Three plants can also become three meter high trees.
But seriously: With a little practice, the yield of only three hemp plants can be enough to cover your own needs over a harvest cycle. Because with good timing, appropriate preparation and a sufficient degree of discipline, it is quite possible to bring in a handsome harvest every 3 months. So goodbye black market!
But we have done the math without Karl.
Because in the draft law he suddenly becomes frighteningly concrete and limits the self-cultivation not only quantitatively, but on top of that also temporally: 3 plants per person and per calendar year are to be allowed!
Lauterbach has always clearly stated that he consults experts on the subject of cannabis and its legalization. However, he has never said that these would be experts with knowledge of the relevant or affected scene. Nor did he say that his advisors were pro-legalization or pro-consumer. We probably read that into Lauterbach's words ourselves.
What he did say clearly, however, was that he wanted to achieve a reduction in consumption through legalization. In this respect, the cannabis-affine desire was probably the father of the thought that Lauterbach's legalization plans were a benevolent fraternization with the weed mob in the fight against unscrupulous street dealers. In retrospect, his announcement that he wanted to take away a large part of the health hazards of cannabis consumption through controlled quality was probably really just due to a health policy concept to improve public health.
Through his experts, he has apparently acquired just as much insider knowledge about the scene in the background as he believes he needs to implement his own goals. And these goals lie solely in the implementation of effective measures to reduce consumption. And not in making a chilling gift to the hemp community.
The agreement of the traffic light parties on the formulation in the coalition agreement was based solely on the late recognition of a sordid but correct realization that prohibition does not work. And not on the idea of somehow making consumption more pleasant for stoners or facilitating the supply of dope. Here, too, everyone involved has always been open and honest.
But the real stroke of genius seems to be a completely different one. One might think that Lauterbach would apply the philosophy of Far Eastern martial arts to his new kind of drug policy, no longer trying to fight against the power of the superior opponent, but instead directing the opponent's energy toward his own goals.
Karl shouts, " I'm legalizing! Because I don't want you to smoke pot!" and all the stoners, er pardon voters like that: " Yeah that's what we want too!"
After years of dedicated activism, the weedmob, completely befuddled by sudden success, celebrates the new `awakening' in drug policy and is sheerly overwhelmed by the beautiful feeling of having always known and now finally having been proven right. There, the former enemy has been willingly crowned the new savior from the bondage of an injustice that has lasted far too long. No critical voices are heard asking about the true intention behind the sudden change of heart. Because everyone is sure: Finally they get it and now everything will be fine!
So Lauterbach has quite cleverly created an amazingly trusting consensus with the legalize scene. Suddenly everyone is pulling together: Together against organized crime. Together for health protection. Together for youth protection. After all, that's what the hemp community goes out on the streets every year and loudly demonstrates for. And that is exactly what Lauterbach wants. Only if possible nevertheless rather without that the people smoke this dangerous grass.
Probably never before in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany did a Minister of Health have the opportunity to have such an overarching impact on all resorts. Only rarely do health reforms also affect the ministries of justice, agriculture and transportation in equal measure. Lauterbach is part of the first government ever that seems to have understood that the paths to the goals of the various interest groups run parallel. If you just leave the old path of prohibition, you can hitch a ride with the stoners and reach your destination much more easily. Isn´t he smart this guy Karl!
Lauterbach, as the leading figure in Operation 'Legalization', is about to have a great opportunity to make history. And if he just does everything right, he will end up being celebrated not just by a few shaggy-haired stoners but as the savior of the world! Or at least of Germany. You don't destroy this opportunity by allowing potheads to smoke weed and at the same time, by pushing the political establishment in front of their heads with a real legalization. But if all these problems can be solved with 3 plants a year and a prison garden guarded around the clock, our Karl is a pragmatist, a real doer.
Then he just does it! So what you stoners?
Well, unfortunately he doesn't make it quite that easy for us. Maximum 10% THC for adults between 18 and 21 years, maximum 25 or 25 grams per person, maximum this, maximum that. An overregulated bureaucracy monster without realistic competitiveness to the well-tried black market, which has already survived worse than this half-hearted sham release. Because cannabis is not a new drug, as Markus Söder and consorts constantly try to convince the concerned citizens. Cannabis is a stimulant with culture and established supply channels. It is a worldwide cultural phenomenon that has developed very well against all odds - or maybe because of it. No prison in the world is free of drugs, and then this machination is supposed to eradicate the black market? No way!
Cannabis is music, cannabis is art, cannabis is literature. But above all, cannabis is also socializing! And yet the drug hub behind the train station is no more symbolic of the scene than Ballermann is of Mallorca. But Lauterbach is only familiar with the culture behind the plant from hearsay. And that's why this legalization, or what now seems to be left of it, is an unwanted child of prohibition conceived under laboratory conditions. Not (over-)viable in the real world. Once unleashed on humanity, it will do far more harm than good, until the next time the conservatives win an election and get back in charge, it will be put back in chains and locked in the basement.
It is quite clear what added value a CSC can and should offer its members and the region. In Spain, the culture of cannabis clubs sets an example. These clubs have been active in some regions of the country for many years and are firmly anchored in society. Here, the word 'social' is written at least as boldly as the word cannabis.
Established clubs of a certain class offer their members a great deal of added value and many of the benefits typically associated with club life, which are financed by donations and dues. Cabaret and educational events, fit and wellness offerings, and various types of workshops round out the concept of a good CSC and make such clubs valuable cultural venues for the region. It is by far not only about disdainful drug cultivation and consumption.
A Cannabis Social Club is the breeding ground on which a deep-rooted and strong culture can flourish through the active participation of its members. However, the concept only becomes resistant and effective against organized crime in combination with a secured legal status and comprehensible, enforceable and controllable rules.
Over-regulation of clubs and limits on production, dispensing, and possession, on the other hand, will artificially raise the cost price, and the limited nature of the products will not be able to meet demand. Both together will create the best conditions for the black market ever.
In dubio pro Canna - Everything is somehow legal until the illegality is proven!
If you are not caught in the act of illicit trade, you will not face any penalties so quickly. Because an acquisition from an illegal source will be almost impossible to prove to the consumer, if he or she is a member of a club and/or could have harvested his three legal plants at home recently. And despite massive price increases, 'street cannabis' will still be available at much lower prices than high security club weed. Who would then blacken the cheap dealer.
Paradise conditions for the mafia. While the police and authorities are busy with the important task of finding out whether pothead A might not already have the second run of the year going on, or from which rule-breaking cultivation club pothead B, who is only 18 years old, might have obtained substance with 20 instead of 10 percent THC, organized crime is tapping into the numerous loopholes in the far too well thought-out system. The old-established structures on the illegal production level simply remain in place, they are then not much more illegal than they have always been. And on the distribution level, thanks to the legal possession of at least 25 grams, there are unprecedented new sales opportunities, while at the same time the police hunt for road users with a cannabinoid background is really opened up.
What Lauterbach is proposing here is as far away from real legalization as Markus Söder is from his first joint and will not quiet the weed mob.