The federal government's plans to partially legalize the acquisition and use of cannabis are met with unanimous opposition from doctors, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, who are entrusted with the well-being of children and adolescents. In a statement that is available exclusively to the FAZ, the respective specialist societies and professional associations warn against a development like the one in the United States and Canada. As there, this will ultimately be at the expense of the health of children and adolescents in Germany, so the tenor of the statement, which was led by the head of the German Center for Addiction Issues in Children and Adolescents at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Rainer Thomasius,the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for Family Issues at the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs and Medical Director of the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Ulm, Jörg Fegert, and his Rostock colleague Michael Kölch.

Daniel Deckers

in the political editorial department responsible for “The Present”.

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The scientists counter the plan of the Ampelkoalition to enable the sale of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes with the realization: "All resolutions to combine legalization with the best possible protection of minors have proven to be an illusion in many legalization countries".

According to the scientists, addiction prevention has shown desirable effects in the past when it is accompanied by a strict reduction in what is on offer.

In contrast, expanding the market for addictive substances and using behavioral prevention to limit damage to endangered persons and consumers has turned out to be "barely effective".

Traffic accidents and suicides under the influence of cannabis

Specifically, it states that the legalization of cannabis for adults has led to a decrease in the perception of the health risks of cannabis use, especially among minors. In some American states, where it is legal to purchase cannabis, the use rates in the population are 20 to 40 percent higher than the state average. At the same time, cannabis products that are legally acquired by adults would be passed on to young people despite the ban.

According to the analysis of the relevant data, the consequences for the medical care of cannabis users of all age groups are alarming. In the state of Colorado, cannabis-related poisoning and hospital admissions rates have more than doubled since legalization in the year. The poison control centers recorded the greatest increases in cannabis-related emergency calls in the age groups 0 to 8 years and 9 to 17 years. The number of fatal traffic accidents and the proportion of suicides and those involving cannabis have also doubled. At 51 percent, according to the scientists, referring to American studies, the proportion of suicides who acted under the influence of cannabis was in the age group of ten to seventeen year olds.

Doctors and psychologists consider the assumption that a partial legalization of cannabis will lead to the collapse of the black market as eyewash. Cannabis users continued to obtain cannabis products from illegal sources. This is especially true for younger consumers, since hashish, hashish oil and marijuana are often cheaper on the black market than the legal, highly taxed products.

The scientists also consider the federal government's plans to be irresponsible because the legalization trivializes the health hazards, the negative consequences and the harmful long-term effects of cannabis use on the age-appropriate physical and psychological development of children and adolescents.

A study by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) documents that the earlier children and adolescents come into contact with the drug, the higher the risk of developing cannabis addiction.

Across all age groups, nine percent of all users would be dependent.

This rate is 17 percent if cannabis use begins in adolescence.

It rises up to 50 percent if cannabinoids were consumed daily during adolescence.

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