Federal Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig (CSU) was asked how she views the findings of the Bundestag Scientific Service, which we recently reported not only on social media, but also on par Parliamentwatch.de. The Scientific Service has recorded assessments of various studies according to which “adherence to a strict drug policy has little or no effect on consumer behavior.”
This result is certainly not in Ludwig’s sense, it removes any basis for their repressive cannabis policy. Accordingly, from the very beginning she tried to interrogate the investigation. After Daniela Ludwig announced on Twitter that she had read the report, further debate revealed that she either did not read the document in its entirety or needs to take another look at the current legislation in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The user par Parliamentwatch.de asked Daniela Ludwig:
- Did you order this study from the “Wissenschaftlichen Dienst”?
- Are you aware of the content of the study?
- Do you believe that your arguments for the validity of a ban policy – especially with regard to the protection of minors – are credible and understandable? And if so, why?If you now expect Daniela Ludwig to specifically answer the first question, unfortunately we will have to disappoint you. The Narcotics Commissioner “scrutinized” the report. And again he tries to downplay the result. On the one hand, she quotes a sentence from the introduction to the document: “In addition, in most of the countries studied, cannabis use has only recently been decriminalized or legalized, so there is no data on long-term changes in consumption rates.” Ludwig believes that the effect can only be proven after long-term observation. On the other hand, she criticizes the fact that most countries included data up to 2018 in the studies:
“I have studied the annotation carefully. Here I noticed that very different and often quite old annual figures were given. Current data is only available for Canada.”
I wonder what Ludwig considers important: long-term observation or the most recent data. In Colorado, cannabis shops opened in early 2014, so older data is also informative enough to ask how this affects consumption. Only that the result does not fit into the CSU concept:
Colorado, one of the first states in the United States to legalize cannabis, already has data on the development of consumption after cannabis was legalized. The authors of the 2017 publication concluded that cannabis use has not increased since legalization.
Ludwig prefers to use the most recent data and addresses Canada specifically:
“According to official research, the number of first-time cannabis users has almost doubled since the legalization of cannabis in October 2018. According to their own data, from January to March 2019, 646,000 people used cannabis for the first time – almost double the number in the first quarter of 2018 (327,000 people).”
The Scientific Service would like to consider the following:
“It remains to be seen whether the identified changes in consumer behavior are short-term deviations or the corresponding changes in legislation actually lead to long-term changes in consumer behavior. Another aspect to consider when classifying the available research results is the type of data collection. As a rule, these are surveys, sometimes limited to certain groups of people, such as B. Students in certain grades. In particular, with regard to the comparability of survey results before and after decriminalization or legalization of cannabis, it should be noted that the response behavior within the same group may differ and lead to distortions. For example, the desire to report drug use may be greater if the drugs are legal rather than illegal.
However, no such increase has been reported, for example from Colorado, as mentioned above. Indeed, all current data show consumption growth since legalization in Canada. And with that, Ludwig has an argument that we will surely hear from her often in the future. There is only one catch. The repressive cannabis policy allegedly wants to protect not young people, but old people who try cannabis after legalization. This is also indicated by the Scientific. Service, which, of course, is hidden by Ludwig.
A total of about 5.3 million Canadians aged 15 and over were using cannabis in the first quarter of 2019, according to SC data. This corresponds to 18 percent of the population. This value is four percent higher than the value determined a year earlier (that is, before legalization), which was 14 percent. Much of this increase is due to an increase in cannabis use among men aged 45 to 64. According to SC, the results show that first-time cannabis users after cannabis legalization were older than before. Half of the new consumers were at least 45 years old, while in the same period of 2018, only a third of new consumers were in this age group. Proportion of people under 25
The latest official data from Canada even shows a significant drop in the number of young consumers, while older consumers are trying this:
Cannabis use increased between 2018 and 2019, especially among those aged 25 and over (from 13.1% to 15.5%) and among men (from 17.5% to 20.3%). The corresponding indicators for children aged 15 to 24 years (from 27.6% to 26.4%) and women (from 12.3% to 13.4%) remained unchanged. At the same time, consumption among young people from 15 to 17 years old decreased (from 19.8% to 10.4%).
Teenage consumption in the last three months before the study fell from 19.8 percent to 10.4 percent after legalizing in Canada! If Ludwig wants to present Canada as a negative example of legalization, she must change her main argument.
Ludwig also points out in his response to the parliamentary survey that weekly and incidental consumption has increased. Which she doesn’t mention, but can be found in the latest Statistics Canada figures above.
Daily or nearly daily consumption did not change.Daily or Nearly Daily Use (DAD).
On average, in 2019, 6.0% of Canadians aged 15 and over reported using DAD cannabis; approximately at the level of 2018 (5.9%). Regardless of the year, DAD users were also more likely to be men between the ages of 18 and 44.
Recently, Ludwig has an unconvincing argument in his quiver:
According to the Canadian Bureau of Statistics, in the third quarter of 2019, even three out of ten Canadian cannabis users received cannabis only from legal sources. The rest continue to buy on the black market. The expected effects did not materialize.
Conversely, this means that nearly 30 percent of consumers have completely abandoned the black market and consume only official, pure and taxed cannabis, and more Canadians are gaining access to both the official and the black market. It should be clear that not 100% of the market switches in one day. Transformation into a regulated market takes time, but every percentage of consumers who no longer depend on the black market deserves legalization. If Ludwig is 100% on the black market, she is certainly right with her ban policy, after all, this is what Ban can do.