Merkel rival Schulz pledges free vote on cannabis, angering conservatives

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Merkel rival Schulz pledges free vote on cannabis, angering conservatives

Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz announced on Tuesday that he would allow a free vote on cannabis consumption. Now the government’s drug commissar has reacted angrily.

When YouTube stars asked Schulz on Tuesday whether MPs should be allowed to vote according to their conscience on the legalization of cannabis, the SPD leader replied “yes, that would be the sensible thing to do.”

But Schulz, who will become Chancellor if the SPD party wins the national election on September 24th, refrained from saying whether he himself would vote for the legalization of weed, pointing out that he had once been an alcoholic and it had taken him years to get over his addiction.

The SPD leader nonetheless added his voice to those of the Green Party, the Free Democrats (FDP) and Die Linke (the Left Party), who all call for a legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.

But Schulz’s statement was met with anger by the government's drug commissar Marlene Mortler, who belongs to the arch conservative Christian Social Union (CSU).

“A decision over the correct way to deal with cannabis is no question of conscience,” she told the Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.

“I have no idea what exactly the SPD want when it comes to cannabis. Some of them want legalization, others are against it, and Mr Schulz has no idea what he wants."

Mortler said that the arguments against complete legalization of the drug were stronger now than they had ever been before. She has previously accused the FDP, Die Linke and the Greens of a “complete lack of responsibility” on the issue of cannabis.

In January Germany voted to legalize cannabis consumption for medical purposes.

Patients suffering from serious illness, such as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, serious appetite loss or nausea from chemotherapy, are now able to receive prescriptions from their doctors for medical marijuana.

SEE ALSO: Why Germany just legalized medical marijuana