Berlin has been one of the hotspots for cannabis tourism for about 10 years now and the city holds a pretty large stoner population which came out to demand recreational cannabis legalization last Saturday.
As a news reporter, there’s no better feeling than when a story just writes itself—this happened to me on my trip to Germany, while I was walking through the streets of Berlin on vacation.
So, there I was leaving the German metro, also known as the U-Bahn, and while I was standing on the escalator the well-known smell of burning terpenes flooded my nostrils.
Somebody was chiefing it up in Berlin, and I was about to find out who, why, where, and if I can have some.
The smoker in me couldn’t take a beat, so I started looking for where the smell was coming from.
I started noticing people passing joints and blunts around like they are in downtown Amsterdam.
From the Alexanderplatz to the Reichstag and further within Tiergarten, there was weed in the air and at least five thousand people walking the streets, some say even ten thousand.
Something was off, but in a good way.
Germany hasn’t legalized recreational marijuana yet, but cannabis consumption and possession is being treated as a misdemeanor ever since they legalized medical marijuana a year ago.
As I was walking closer to one of the biggest streets going through the middle of downtown Berlin, I started noticing many flyers with the same logo, and a word Hanfparade written all over the billboards and flyers.
It turns out that the Hanfparade is the traditional and Germany-wide pro-Cannabis march which happens every year in August.
So, once I realized what was going on, I wasn’t going to miss a story like this for the world.
I walked up to the nearest booth and asked to talk to someone who could better inform me about this event, which is apparently the biggest protest in Germany against the prohibition of cannabis.
One of the guys working there told me his name is Thomas, and that he is one of the organizers of this event.
I asked Thomas what is the biggest impact that legalizing medical marijuana has brought so far, and he replied with the following:
The impact legalizing medical cannabis made is quite large. Cannabis is more and more something people can say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of cannabis… it’s alright, it’s a medicine”, and the whole narative changed in general.
He went on to explain how the recreational market in Berlin is quite strong even now when it is illegal.
Thomas claims that around 20% of Berliners already smoke cannabis every now and then, and maybe 1-2% are daily smokers.
“People here have been smoking for a while now, and estimates say that the market right now weighs around 40 kilos per day,” said Thomas. “We really should legalize it and make it safe.”
Seeing how Berlin has about 3.5 million people, 40 kilograms a day is not an inconceivable number for 35,000-70,000 people.
The parade started way before I showed up there, so by the time I finished my chat with Thomas, most of the crowd had passed me and dispersed within the park right next to us.
Finding weed for recreational use in Berlin is relatively easy, as there are many parks around town with people selling low-grade pot.
There were multiple incidents in these parks concerning the quality of weed as there were cases in which people reported finding weird additives in their weed.
This is exactly why I agree with Thomas and the rest of the Berlin squad pushing for legalization.
The Hanfparade has been going on for more than 20 years, as the first edition was organized way back in 1997, not even 10 years after the Berlin Wall fell.
I sincerely hope that it won’t have to run for much longer as Berlin seems quite ripe for the legalization of recreational cannabis.