The German MEP bidding to win the top job in the EU has declared that cannabis should be legal across the continent.
Ska Keller argued that alcohol is a lot more harmful than cannabis and said she wants to see a regulated marijuana industry in Europe. She added it should be closely controlled to ensure that minors cannot gain access to cannabis, but that if it was up to her it would be legal.
Keller, who has been a Green MEP since 2014, is in the running to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission after May’s elections. Juncker will not seek a second term once his mandate ends this year and some big names are vying for the job, including Manfred Weber, Frans Timmermans, Christine Lagarde and Guy Verhofstadt.
But Keller, one of two candidates put forward as spitzenkandidaten by the European Green party, is an intriguing left-field option. She is younger than most of the other candidates, as she is just 37 years of age, but she has already been in parliament since 2009.
She has warned against the attack from far-right parties that want to go back to nationalism and curb civil liberties and democracy, and she is campaigning for a more ecological, social, and democratic Europe. Climate change is now edging close to the top of the agenda, and Green representatives are likely to grow in influence going forward.
Keller is a clear outsider in the race to succeed Juncker, but she still has considerable clout and she could remain a powerful cannabis advocate for the remainder of her political career.
A report from Prohibition Partners estimates that the European cannabis market will eventually reach €56.2 billion ($62.6 billion), of which €37.5 billion ($41.8 billion) will be medicinal and the rest recreational.
Many European countries, including Germany, have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, but Luxembourg – where Juncker is from – is the only country to legalize recreational use. That could all change as more progressive politicians like Keller come to the fore in the years ahead and push the continent toward an end to prohibition.