Germany Changes Its Citizenship Law — Now It Needs to Improve Its Citizens’ Access to Cannabis

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, the German government passed amendments to the German citizenship law, based on my Supreme Court case — the next big battle is ensuring every Europeans’ access to regulated cannabis.

At the beginning of July, on the Friday before July 4 weekend, the American holiday celebrating the country’s “independence” from the UK, Germany passed an amendment to its citizenship law. The legislation was based on my successful lawsuit at the German Supreme Court — see 2BvR 2628/18.

Tragically this was done almost in secret, with debates and significant legislative action held late at night while the bill was being pushed through the Bundestag. When a country passes an amendment to its citizenship act, one presumes that its citizens would want to know. It is a bit Trumpian at a time when German politics are going to the test at the polls in the fall — and when the country is facing major challenges to the world that at least West Germans got used to after the war.

Thankfully after a bit of kicking and screaming on my part, I finally got credit — along with others who have been involved in other parts of this discussion. Here is the bit that thanks those who have been instrumental outside of the Bundestag, in getting this passed that thanks us. Text from the German as posted here, starting on page 30859.

“This is a solemn moment when, after decades of struggle, persecuted Nazi persecutees and their descendants are finally granted the rights to which they are entitled. It is therefore all the more regrettable that this moment falls in the hours of the night and that civil society is thus deprived of the respect and the long-awaited tribute to civil society can only be accorded in this way.

Nevertheless, on behalf of my group, I would like to expressly thank the following pioneers:

Ms. Arnold, who with untiring commitment and at great personal cost, won a decisive ruling before the Supreme Court, Dr. Courtman, who has worked meticulously and historically on the racist contexts of citizenship law, and Mrs. and Mr. Couchman, who, through the formation of the Article 116 Exclusion Group to make their voices heard with a united voice to become unmistakable. Thank you.”

My dad, Arnold F. Arnold, born Schmitz, in Königstein, on February 6, 1921, would have been so proud. He died, tortured to death in the UK in 2012, by his own sons, because I could not reach him — and British authorities refused to help him come back.

Background of the case

After WWII, the German government passed an amendment to its constitution or Basic Law, colloquially known as 116 section 2, which was supposed to restore the citizenship of Germans stripped of the same by the Nazis. The law was never properly implemented over the subsequent decades. Administrative law courts stripped the rights of almost everyone to come back — and for one reason or another.

My family was targeted early by Hitler and his supporters, literally in the first week after Hitler came to power, backed by many old German aristocratic families who decided that throwing in their cause with the rabid Austrian dwarf with the funny moustache was apparently the best way to get prime property for cheap. My own father, stripped by name of his German citizenship in July 1933, five months after his family fled the country, from Frankfurt, was never allowed to return. Even with his own two minor children. That is why he lost them.

The reason in his particular case? He had been drafted into the American military in 1941 and assumed American citizenship.

The implications of that were equally appalling. I had no protection as a child from a society that was determined to treat me as a stateless bastard, and a maternal family who, apart from being sociopathic criminals, treated me like either a maid or substitute parent for my little brother.

My father tried repeatedly to find us again and bring us back here — blocked not only by the German government, but the ineptitude of the British one. Not to mention aided and abetted by one of my maternal uncles, a former assistant attorney general from the state of North Carolina, and deliberately ignored by my most famous paternal uncle — Peter Drucker.

I tried, as I matured, to convince both the British government and the German one to allow me to come back and, as of the turn of this century began actively lobbying German politicians (including Manfred Lahnstein, introduced to me by my aunt, Doris Drucker).

I arrived in Germany in June 2013 — and headed for Dortmund, where I began learning German. I also found the attorney, Axel Pohlman, who would take my case to the German Supreme Court. In the meantime, I moved back to Frankfurt, obtained a long-delayed EMBA, and continued to walk an unconventional path in the German and European cannabis industry.

Changing The Rights of All European Citizens to Access Cannabis

Changing the German citizenship law is only part of my battle — and I have won a few already in my life. I currently work in the cannabis industry in Europe — as a journalist, consultant, and entrepreneur. I have just taken up work with the European Cannabis Association as we begin to take the battle to Brussels for a homogenized approach to standards for the industry across the region.

I am actively calling those who know me — or have heard of me — or are just learning of me — both in Germany and beyond, and particularly those in the industry to join us. Among attributes I am also an influencer — and this is one of the most valuable assets I bring to the ECA and this industry. I bring people together, I build networks, I change laws. I create business.

I know from personal experience what it is to win battles — and to lose them. We all, in this business, have won major victories over the last decade as the industry matures and reform marches on.

Now I call on my industry to come together — and not in the dead of night — but in the full light of day — to move the entire topic of cannabis reform forward. Where it should go. Every German and European citizen should have the full and unfettered right to cannabis.

This is the path we are on, and most certainly, the goal we can achieve, if we work and walk together.

A luta continua — the struggle continues.

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