Hans Theiss, a medical doctor and Munich CSU city councilor, has created history in Germany by coming out in support of cannabis reform for recreational use.
As the nation proceeds, though slowly and haltingly, toward a new cannabis reality, this does not make him exceptional at the moment. What matters is his geographical and political background.
Geographically, he serves voters from one of the country’s biggest and most metropolitan cities, an affluent metropolis in Bavaria. In spite of this, Bayern is often referred to as the “Texas” of Germany and the “rules-based” state in the nation.
In a recent interview, Theiss said, “Bavaria already follows a rather robust policy of rule of law and pursues criminal activities more consistently than other federal states.”
This is one of the reasons why the state has one of the largest official cannabis patient populations. Doctors are aware that prescriptions protect those too ill to be arrested.
His current position is an even more interesting political development with national ramifications.
Theiss is a cardiologist, which is the first fact. The second is that he is a member of the CSU/CDU, a coalition of two “center-right” German political parties. This is the coalition that just lost power in the most recent national election. It is also the party that opposes both medical cannabis cultivation and the advancement of recreational cannabis reform in general.
As a result, Theiss’ recent public statements in favor of legalization as both a conservative politician and a physician are receiving tremendous attention. This is mostly because this kind of pro-reform comment from a CSU member has never been heard before. When questioned if others in his party share his views, Theiss said politely that he does not think he is the lone supporter of recreational reform at any level of his party.
However, the attention he has received from the pro-cannabis press seems to have caught him off guard.
Theiss also said that the Traffic Light Coalition’s dedication to change was the primary reason he is now speaking out on the matter.
Despite his characteristic German humility, Theiss’s words indicate the Germans’ willingness to welcome a new era in cannabis policy. It is unlikely that every German will convert from beer to cannabis overnight. Or even that there will be a dramatic shift in support for legalization among those who continue to oppose it staunchly. Even among political class proponents, there are worries about underage usage, driving, and drug misuse. However, now that medicinal usefulness has been conclusively demonstrated, even the most staunchly conservative opponents are beginning to reconsider cannabis.
This is due to numerous factors. The first is that continuing present interdiction measures is a waste of public money, a truth that cannot be avoided in political debate. The second reason is that the German economy could use all the assistance it can receive at the moment. This year, inflation exceeds 7 percent, a level rarely seen elsewhere due to the nation’s historical context. This devastating economic reality is starting to influence other discussions and topics.