EU Presidential Candidate Backs Legal Cannabis
With elections for the European Parliament less than a month away, one Green Party candidate may make the European Union green in more ways than one.
Ska Keller is currently the co-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance political group in the European Parliament and is among the candidates hoping to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the president of the European Commission once his term ends in October 2019. She was being interviewed by Euronews as a part of her campaign trail when she was posed the question “Why is cannabis illegal?”
In response, Keller retorted “If it was up to me we would make it legal, so I think it should not be [illegal].”
She goes on to explain her view, saying that “the obvious question is how do you control potentially harmful substances? We should have a close control, we should make sure that for example, minors don't have access to cannabis.”
“And, by the way,” Keller added, “the same goes for alcohol, which is much more harmful even and it is open and free and you cannot imagine a societal event without a really dangerous drug on display and [in] usage.”
As the interview moderator moved to ask another question, Keller quickly added, “So we should use things according to how dangerous they are.”
Who is Ska Keller?
Born in Germany in 1981, Ska Keller is both the president and the migration policy spokesperson for the European Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, having been first elected to office in 2009 at the age of just 27. The following year, Keller graduated from the Free University Berlin and the Sabanci Üniversitesi Istanbul with a degree in Islamic Studies, Turkology and Jewish Studies.
She is now in her second term in office, having been the European Greens’ front runner (or “Spitzenkandidatin”) in the last election in May 2014 - an honor she holds once again going into this election. Since taking office she has also become a member of the EU’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, which works to protect and improve the rights of refugees and migrants in the EU, as well as leading reform in asylum policy.
Before her election to the European Parliament she was a board member of the German Young Greens, a spokesperson for the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG), and a chairperson and spokesperson on women's policy for Alliance 90/The Greens, the political party formed by the merging of Alliance 90 and the Greens after the reunification of Germany, still commonly referred to as the Greens.
More on the European Elections
The online version of the European Greens manifesto for this upcoming election interestingly does not list an opinion on cannabis legalization or decriminalization by name. Though, under the health section of the manifesto, the party do list a commitment to drug policy reform “based on evidence, not prejudice.”
The manifesto goes on to state that, “European countries should reform drug policies to help — not punish — people suffering from substance abuse.”
Euronews will be conducting similar interviews with other candidates for the European Commission president role in the lead up to the elections. The elections themselves will take place in every EU member state, including the United Kingdom, between 23-26 May.