German Officials Consider Cannabis Ban at Oktoberfest

Weed is finally legal in Germany, but it may still be verboten at one of the country’s signature events. According to Forbes, the “German federal state of Bavaria is considering the possibility of restricting cannabis use at the famous Oktoberfest following the legalization of cannabis for personal use.”

“Bavaria government aims to restrict public spaces for consuming cannabis at events like Oktoberfest by establishing cannabis-free zones, as first reported by DPA (German Press Agency),” Forbes reported. “Oktoberfest in Munich is the world’s largest beer festival, featuring traditional Bavarian music, food, and the consumption of about 6 million litres of beer. The festival spans a two-week period, culminating on the first Sunday in October.”

Earlier this month, on the first day of April, German citizens celebrated the end of pot prohibition, which made it the largest country in Europe to pass legalization. It is the third country in the European Union to legalize weed, following Malta and Luxembourg.

Under the law, Germans aged 18 and older are legally permitted to have up to 25 grams of weed and public and up to 50 grams at home.

The law also permits so-called “cannabis clubs,” which will open for business on July 1. Those clubs will allow up to 500 members to personally grow cannabis, but the law does not permit commercial weed sales.

The Associated Press has more background on the new cannabis law:

“Individuals would be allowed to buy up to 25 grams per day, or a maximum 50 grams per month — a figure limited to 30 grams for under-21s. Membership in multiple clubs would not be allowed. The clubs’ costs would be covered by membership fees, which would be staggered according to how much marijuana members use. The government plans a ban on advertising or sponsoring cannabis, and the clubs and consumption won’t be allowed in the immediate vicinity of schools, playgrounds and sports facilities. An evaluation of the legislation’s effect on protection of children and youths is to be carried out within 18 months of the legislation taking effect…The plan falls significantly short of the government’s original ambitions, which foresaw allowing the sale of cannabis to adults across the country at licensed outlets. The project was scaled back following talks with the European Union’s executive commission. Parliament’s upper house, which represents Germany’s 16 state governments, could in principle delay the legislation, though it doesn’t formally require the chamber’s approval. Bavaria’s conservative state government has said it would examine whether legal action against the liberalization plan is possible. The legislation is one of several that Scholz’s coalition, which has since become highly unpopular as a result of economic weakness and persistent infighting, pledged when it took office in 2021. It has eased rules on gaining citizenship and ended restrictions on holding dual citizenship. Among other policies, it also plans to make it easier for transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to change their gender and name in official registers.”

Lawmakers in Germany approved the measure in February.

“We have two goals: to crack down on the black market and improved protection of children and young people,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said at the time.

As Forbes reported, following the launch of legalization on April 1, “states like Bavaria are attempting to restrict consumption in public spaces despite the new legislation allowing consumers to use cannabis following specific rules.”

“Although no final decision was made at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, as specified by the Head of Chancellery and State Minister of Bavaria Florian Herrmann, Bavaria’s ministries are currently exploring additional ‘restriction options’ for cannabis. The aim is to make cannabis consumption less appealing, with a decision likely to be made next week,” the outlet said

“On March 25, one week before cannabis officially became legal for personal use, Bavaria released a catalog of fines related to cannabis consumption in public spaces, as the authorities in the federal states are now responsible for imposing fines for violations of the law, establishing fines of up to €1,000 ($1,085) for consuming cannabis in unauthorized public spaces or in the presence of children or young people, and up to €30,000 ($32,564) for activities related to advertising and distributing cannabis,” the outlet continued. “In addition to Oktoberfest, where beer gardens and outdoor areas of restaurants might be off-limits for cannabis, local authorities are also evaluating implementing this restriction in Englischer Garten (English Garden), one of Germany’s most renowned and largest public parks.”

In a post on X on Tuesday, Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria and Leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), said that Bavaria would not become a “stoner’s paradise.” Söder opposed cannabis legalization, a view that was shared by conservatives in Germany’s parliament. 

“You’re asserting here in all seriousness as health minister … that we will curb consumption among children and young people with the legalization of further drugs,” conservative lawmaker Tino Sorge said to Lauterbach during the debate in parliament earlier this year. “That’s the biggest nonsense I’ve ever heard.”

The post German Officials Consider Cannabis Ban at Oktoberfest appeared first on High Times.


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