Germany: The Right to Get High

The Right to Get High

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Germany found itself mired in the increasingly heated European debate over drug legalization last week when an appellate judge in Lubeck declared the < country's laws against marijuana and hashish unconstitutional. In a ruling that must now be tested in the nation's highest court, Judge Wolfgang Neskovic overturned the conviction of a woman who had been caught hiding 1.2 grams of hashish in her sock.

The surprise decision seems destined to further distance the ruling Christian Democrats, who seek stricter enforcement of antidrug laws, from the opposition Social Democrats, who appear inclined to support drug-legalization proposals that would make Germany more like the Netherlands, where 2,000 coffeehouses openly sell marijuana and hashish. Ruled Neskovic: "Intoxication, like eating, drinking and sex, is one of the fundamentals of mankind." The judge himself confessed to preferring seltzer water to cannabis.