CIN Dialogue 2018: A Right to Get High? – Drug Policy Between Aspirations and Realities
An Interdisciplinary Discussion Moderated by Gábor Paál
November 12 2018, 19h c.t.
Lecture Hall Audimax, Neue Aula, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, Uni Tübingen
In early 2017, the German parliament legalised the prescription of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Legalisation for purely recreational use, however, remains a hotly contested topic, and our society remains far removed from a consensus on drug policy, especially if that would mean cannabis being handled more liberally. While parts of our society uphold the ideal of a drug-free life, the supporters of legalisation plead a ‘right to get high’.
This background makes clear why the debate on drugs is so much laden with appeals to emotion and fundamental values. Scientists are likewise found on both sides of the discussion. While most scientists would not disagree that most drugs range, generally speaking, from problematic to harmful, they disagree on the right way to curtail their use. Jurists often argue that a prohibition by criminal law alone misses the legislative’s goal of protecting public health. Instead of stigmatising substance use through general laws, they advocate a limited lifting of the ban on the private consumption of cannabis, coupled with regulations on the production and distribution of this so far illegal drug. Many jurists fear that strict prohibition actually does less instead of more for public health. Doctors, on the other hand, often oppose legalisation of cannabis, especially quoting dangers to youth and consumer protection. To them, cannabis ought in many cases rightly to be seen as a gateway drug, meaning it should continue to be banned due to the great danger of promoting ongoing addictions. The consumption of cannabis detracts from physical as well as mental health.
These are the questions we will be discussing with Lorenz Böllinger, criminal law specialist and criminologist, and Rainer Thomasius, physician and addiction expert. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Gábor Paál (SWR).
Earlier in the day, there will be an extended workshop (in German) under the title 'Sucht – Lust oder Last? Zu den Grenzen zwischen alltäglicher und pathologischer Sucht'. Find more information here.
Learn more about CIN Dialogues here.
- Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
- University of Tübingen