Cannabis policy reform in Germany: Political and constitutional discourses on decriminalisation and regulation strategies


German Cannabis Policy
Political Arguments

How to Cite

Kemme, S., Pfeffer, K., & Von Rodbertus, L. (2021). Cannabis policy reform in Germany: Political and constitutional discourses on decriminalisation and regulation strategies. Bergen Journal of Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, 9(1), 31.



There is relentless discussion in Germany about the right manner to deal with cannabis and its users. In 1994 and 2004, the Federal Constitutional Court reaffirmed the legal appropriateness of prohibition. However, since then, studies and data about the dangers and effects of cannabis use have quieted alarm, and Europe, alongside the once-prohibitive United States, has had its initial experiences with liberalised use of cannabis. Since the founding of the Schildower Kreis, a network of experts from science and practice, 122 German criminal law professors have petitioned the Bundestag for an Enquête Commission. The aim of this paper is, on the one hand, to provide insight into German narcotics law. On the other hand, the political arguments for sticking to prohibition are contrasted with the numerous empirical findings that are now available. The results of the empirical studies now challenge the Federal Constitutional Court and the legislature to review their previous course and possibly break new ground in drug policy. The basis of the Federal Constitutional Court’s decisions no longer exists. The Narcotics Act and constitutional discourse on cannabis prohibition need to be reviewed, as do political arguments about resources and high costs. Indications of a paradigm shift in drug policy, as required by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, are hesitantly appearing in Germany.

Copyright (c) 2021 Stefanie Kemme, Kristin Pfeffer, Luise Von Rodbertus

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