Tuesday, December 03, 2013


Hanfparade 2009
Berlin, one of the coolest cities in Europe (well, it certainly likes to see itself that way) is considering opening coffee shops. Kind of.
Just the very idea of this is marvellous. Amsterdam, Berlin… where could the next place be. It certainly won’t be London, I can tell you that – but what it would do is make London look increasingly isolated with its old fashioned and harmful drug policies.
It would continue a trend that is sweeping the world: being nice to people who like plants. For goodness sake, I wonder how we ever got to this ridiculous situation.
So Yay! for Monika Herrman and her sensible proposals.
It’s been a little while since I was in Berlin, but it sounds like it’s now super easy to buy weed in and around Berlin’s Görlitzer Park and the dealer situation might be getting a little out of hand – as things do in prohibited markets. Dealers in the area approach you, but not aggressively. In some areas, it’s possible to buy cannabis in broad daylight. Much is tolerated, however many arrests are also made.
“If we want to gain control of the dealers and their products, we must manage the distribution,”
says Monika, and she is, of course, absolutely correct.
Wake up, recognise the market is not going away – and regulate it. Science says the stuff isn’t harmful, except for the developing brain. So we must keep it away from our kids, which somehow we largely manage to do with alcohol using a regulated market. I digress.
In Berlin, there are also pressure groups such as ‘Hanf Verband’ that are pushing forward the idea of cannabis social clubs along the same lines as the ones now operating in some parts of Spain.
There is also the annual ‘Hanfparade‘, which since 1997, has attracted thousands of people campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis. It’s also a pretty good party.
Berlin has its own own Hemp museum similar to the one in Amsterdam called the Hanf Museum.
Things are already pretty chilled in Berlin, however, with the legal limit for personal possession set at 15 grammes (or around half an ounce) since 1994 – a pretty progressive policy whichever way you look at it.
Achilles Charmpilas, a musician who has lived in Berlin for 3 years said:
“I don’t mind legal cannabis. There’s bars here where you’re allowed to light up informally already. I would hate to see all the shitty Amsterdam narco-tourist types come here, though.”
Hmmm. Could he mean me I wonder? I’m not a narco-tourist, honest.
The matter is being discussed in Berlin’s parliament currently, but there is apparently little political appetite for legalisation in the way that it has been implemented in Colorado and Washington.
Don’t hold your breath, then. But the word on the streets is that if you know where to go, it’s all good anyway.
UPDATE 2nd December 2013
Since the time of writing, councillors in Berlin have approved this! Another domino falls.

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