The small German state of Schleswig-Holstein recently announced plans to sell marijuana over the counter in an attempt to separate cannabis from the "hard" drug market, according to Reuters News Service. &nbps;The state said it will soon apply to the federal drugs agency for a permit to sell marijuana.
The state Health Minister, Heide Moser, said authorities were losing credibility by treating marijuana as if it were as a dangerous as other "harder" drugs such as cocaine and heroin. "General warnings about the dangers of drugs are no longer being taken seriously," she said.
The idea drew criticism from the German federal government whose spokesman said that, "Schleswig-Holstein's stance has little to do with reality."
The state, which is governed by a coalition of Social Democrats and environmentalist Greens, said it had not yet decided precisely where and how much cannabis would be available if its project wins approval.
Marijuana is technically illegal in Germany, but the Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use should no longer be punished.