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Facts and Findings

Health and psychosocial effects of the legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis

by Rainer Matthias Holm-Hadulla, Anneliese Dörr Álamos

Cannabis legalization at the expense of children and young people

Cannabis legalization leads to an increase in consumption. In addition, the risk perception of harmful effects decreases due to the easier availability of cannabis. Harmful effects include impaired concentration and memory, apathy, anxiety, depressive and schizophrenic disorders. Legalization in Germany is an experiment that is being carried out on the backs of children and young people for the benefit of robust luxury consumers.

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Cannabis legalization is particularly consequential for children and young people, who can now obtain cannabis more easily, 100 meters from school are easy to manage and it will be almost impossible to control whether cannabis is actually only given or sold to adults. Children and young people are the most attractive target group for cannabis marketing because their addiction regulation centers are trained through early drug use in a sensitive developmental phase. They learn early on to manipulate their moods and thoughts through drugs. The use of drugs becomes a way of dealing with conflicts, which can be served by a wide variety of substances and often lasts a lifetime. For the majority of drug users seeking treatment, cannabis is the primary drug. Medical studies unanimously come to the conclusion that, as a result of increasing consumption with legalization, more young people are suffering from cannabis use disorders, especially chronic schizophrenic illnesses and depressive and anxiety disorders. The German Police Union points out that the law legalizing cannabis is not in line with child, youth and health protection and will not push back the black market. The general preventive effect of criminal proceedings is also missing - a fatal signal for young people. A sensible alternative to the legalization and marketing of cannabis would be to purchase it in pharmacies and decriminalize the possession or use of small quantities.

Read the entire Facts & Findings Arguments "Gesundheitliche und psychosoziale Auswirkungen der Legalisierung und Kommerzialisierung von Cannabis" here as a PDF.

Please note, to date this publication is only available in German.

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Elisabeth Hoffmann

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Youth and Family +49 30 269 96 2515


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About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


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