During the budget week, the Bundestag discussed the judiciary budget. The issue of data retention has been moving parliamentarians for some time. Something else is relatively new: smoking pot.
The legalization of the sale of cannabis in licensed shops, planned by the traffic light coalition, caused amusement in the debate on the judiciary budget.
The Berlin Green MP Canan Bayram said she would have liked the coalition to be one step further on this project. “It cannot be that the CDU is still legally allowed to consume alcohol and that parts of the people in a constituency are criminalized for wanting to smoke weed in peace,” she criticized. That has to change. It is time that the “progress coalition” took a path in the “legalization of drugs that reflects social reality”.
It had come to her that some conservatives were also using cannabis, Bayram continued. She said: “Yes, even the conservatives, they smoke weed. And soon they’ll be smoking weed legally, and they’ll have us to thank for that.”
The coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens and FDP states: “We are introducing the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.” The Department of Health is leading the project, in which the Ministry of Justice is involved.
Controversy over data retention
Data retention was also a topic of the debate on the judiciary budget. The deputy leader of the Union parliamentary group, Andrea Lindholz (CSU), accused Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) of obstructing the clarification of many cases of child abuse with his rejection of data retention. The “Quick Freeze” procedure he favored, in which connection data of suspected distributors of depictions of sexual abuse would be secured in the event of suspicion, was only a “placebo”. Buschmann rejected the criticism and said: “They always act as if we were taking something away from the investigators. But since 2017 at the latest there has been no more data retention, it is not used.” The federal government is now introducing “instruments that replace this nothing with something”.
The judiciary budget for 2022 provides for expenditure of around 938 million euros for the Federal Ministry of Justice and the federal authorities in its area of responsibility. In addition, there are around 36 million euros for the Federal Constitutional Court. EUR 750,000 each is earmarked for the “monitoring accounts” agreed in the coalition agreement this year and next. The aim is to take stock of state surveillance powers.