A group of German police officers is tired of making pointless pot busts. On Monday, the Association of German Criminal Officers spoke out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana throughout Germany.
"The prohibition of cannabis has historically been seen as arbitrary and has not yet been implemented in an intelligent and effective manner,” André Schulz - head of the police association - told the newspaper Bild. “My prediction is cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.”
Decriminalization might seem like a huge step forward, but it's really about coming to terms with reality in Germany. Most German police offers don't arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use — usually 10 grams or less. So decriminalizing marijuana would really mean acknowledging what police in various jurisdictions have already accepted: that minor busts for non-violent offenses aren't worth the time and effort.
Schulz also hinted at support for decriminalizing all drugs in the country.
“In the history of mankind there has never been a society without the use of drugs; this is something that has to be accepted,” he said.
Instead of throwing people in jail for using drugs, Schulz recommends taking a public health approach to educate the German people about responsible drug use and offer treatment to addicts.
If Germany moved forward with marijuana reform, it would be the first European country to repeal cannabis prohibition, and the third country in the world to legalize recreational use after Uruguay (which legalized in 2014) and Canada (which is set to legalize later this year).
However, legalizing marijuana might be easier said than done in Germany. Although the country embraced reform last March by allowing medical marijuana, the German people aren't in favor of repealing prohibition. A survey conducted last November by the research institute Forsa found that 63 percent of Germans opposed legalization while only 34 percent supported recreational use.
But getting the police onboard with reform could make those naysayers rethink their position.