This is a short description of all relevant persons and organisations in Germany fighting for a liberal, human and rational drug policy. I did some comparisons with the US organisations because they are most plural and outdifferentiated. I excluded the governmental and administration level of drug policy like the federal drug adviser as well as conservative or non-political actors like charitable organisations. In fact, the drug policy reformer scene is quite small and there are several overlaps.
Here is a brief summary:
- Hemp like NORML: Grüne Hilfe, Hanfparade, Deutscher Hanf Verband, Hanfjournal, Hanftag, Hanfmuseum
- Party drugs & Drugchecking: Sonics, Drugcheckinginitiative Berlin, Eve and Rave, Chillout
- Academic & Science like ICSDP: Schildower Kreis
- Professional representation like LEAP or addiction medicine physicians: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Suchtmedizin
- HIV/AIDS Help: Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe
- Harm Reduction like IHRA: akzept
- Celebrity: no one
- Cannabis as medicine: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin
- Self-Help: JES, Akzeptierende Eltern
- Drug Treatment: akzept, Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen,
- Drug Policy like DPA: akzept, Deutscher Hanf Verband, Verein für Drogenpolitik
- Politicians & political Parties: Harald Terpe (Grüne), Frank Tempel (LINKE), Grüne Jugend, working groups within green, left and Pirate party
- Civil Rights with drug policy as a part of the agenda: Humanistische Union (very little)
There is no real equivalent to the Drug Policy Alliance. Akzept is the nationwide umbrella organisation for promoting the acceptance of drug-work and humane drug-policies, but it’s much smaller than the DPA. Akzept members are the Deutsche AIDS Hilfe (german AIDS help) as well organisations of users and parents. Akzept is a member of EHRN and ENCOD. The Verein für Drogenpolitik (VfD) should become something like the DPA, but VfD is complete inactive for now. Anti-Prohibition academics are organised in the Schildower Kreis.
The leading organisation in the area of cannabis legalisation, cannabis as medicine and hemp is the Deutscher Hanf Verband (DHV, „German Hemp Association“) and so something like NORML. The financier of the DHV are companies and individual persons as well as the Open Society Foundation. DHV is also a member of ENCOD. There are three persons working at the DHV. The Hanf Journal („hemp journal“) is a free, advertising-financed magazine for Cannabis consumers with an edition of more than 100,000 copies per month and with a political standard. Hanf Journal and Hanfverband are working close together. The Grüne Hilfe (cannabis self help and legal help) and the Hanfparade (biggest pro cannabis demonstration in Germany) are also noteworthy. There is also a small organisation for cannabis as medicine and some working groups on drug checking. The minority of the hemp and drug policy activists are working voluntary and regional.
Georg Wurth is the executive director of the DHV and founded the Schildower Kreis. Me, Maximilian Plenert, is spoke person of the federal network for drug policy within the green party, works for the DHV, is executive director of the Schildower Kreis and a member of the steering committee of akzept.
The political parties are quite inactive in the subject area of drug politics and their activities depend a lot on individual persons. The green, the left and the pirate party are the most progressive representatives within the political party spectrum. All three parties have working groups with more or less influence and a more radical position than the party’s one. It’s the same with the responsible members of Parliament and their bureaus. Below the federal level there are only distributed and rare structures connected with the political parties.
The social democratic Party (SPD) war relative progressive until 1998, in this year SPD and the green party build their first government on federal level). Since then SPD retarded progress. The conservative party (CDU) accepts the benefits of harm reduction bit by bit but also slows down progress where ever they can and even today some conservatives misuse the subject area drugs and drug users in populist law and order politics. The so called liberal party (FDP) with the exception of a few acts passive or even repressive, the actual federal drug adviser Dyckmans even decry small steps of decriminalisation on state level.
In general there is a strong correlation between the membership in a political party and the drug policy orientation, stronger than in the USA or specially the UK.
There is one German member of the global commission on drug policy. Marion Caspers-Merk and is the former drug adviser of the federal government (2001-2005) and state secretary in the ministry of health. She is a member of the social democratic party Germany (SPD) and has been a member of the federal parliament (Bundestag) till 2009. She represents a moderate drug policy, she accepts the war on drugs is failed and prevention, treatment and harm reduction are the right way. But she doesn’t see any need for action in decriminalisation, she thinks the drug policy in Germany is well-balanced and she rejects any legalisation. Her drug policy activities started and ended more or less with being drug adviser. Because of her membership in the global commission on drug policy media mentioned her several times, but she hasn’t be active in this area. In a talk she gave 2012 about „The Global Commission on Drug Policy – Conclusions and recommendations“, any reference to the demand of legalisation by the global commission misses.
There is nothing like LEAP or Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) in Germany. Beside the fact the German drug reformer scene is quite underdeveloped there are also cultural differences e.g. the weak connection between students life with their university.
There are several progressive individual persons in law enforcement and similar domains:
Wolfgang Nešković, former judge at the Federal Court of Justice, current member of Parliament (LINKE) – he causes a compatibility check of cannabis legislation with the Basic Law and hereby the so called „Cannabis-Beschluss“ by the Federal Constitutional Court 1994. This judgement said law enforcement should strictly desist persecution in cases of small amounts cannabis for personal use. Such a judgement has no direct binding effect and legalisation doesn’t change the drug law in respect to Federal Constitutional Court.
Dr. Harald Hans Körner, former senior public prosecutor at the Higher Regional Court Frankfurt and author of the most common commentary of the drug law in Germany
Frank Tempel, responsible member for drug policy in the parliamentary group die LINKE and former narcotics agend
Hubert Wimber, superintendent of Münster
Several other names worth to mention them are judge Richter Andreas Müller (Local court Bernau, another compatibility check of cannabis legislation with the Basic Law try), judge Bertold Sommer (Federal Constitutional Court, he has a deviating and more progressive position in the Cannabis-Beschluss) and Wolfgang Werdenich (senior prison warden in Austria), Wolfgang Schulz (former superintendent of Dortmund, active in 1992) and Volker Haas (superintended Stuttgart, active in 1994)
There are several police trade unions in Germany. The Gewerkschaft der Polizei (GdP) is the biggest one and with a moderate and open minded position the most progressive one in matter of drug policy. The Deutsche Polizeigewerkschaft is more conservative and the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK) is unprogressive. In addiction there is the very small but progressive Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft kritischer Polizistinnen und Polizisten, the federal working group of critical police woman and man.
The GdP North Rhine-Westphalia and their chairman Frank Richter give a positive option to the decriminalisation of the state government and hold congress „Neue Wege in der Drogenpolitik“ (New ways in drug policy) in the beginning of the year 2011. The chairman of GdP Germany Bernhard Witthaut called for legal sell of cannabis in pharmacies in 2002.