By Alek Hidell
Over 4,000 people took to the streets of Berlin Saturday to voice the will of the people, that cannabis should be legalized in Germany. The demonstration was pushing for the legalization of cannabis for medical use as well as the decriminalization of possession. As cannabis legalization has been sweeping the United States, attitudes have changed globally. The climate in Germany in reference to cannabis has shifted with politicians ready to take the next step.
The Hanfparade or Hemp Parade, is an annual march in Berlin “for the legalization of cannabis as a raw material, medicine and commerce in Germany,” according to the organizer’s website. Legalization is in the Air is the official motto of this years parade. The parade began at the Washington Plaza Train Station, passed the Ministry of Health, then onto Alexanderplatz where live music and speakers met the crowd before they scatted to the Berlin nightlife. The Hanfparade began in 1997 and has come a long way since. With past slogans “the struggle continues” and “no war against plants” the organizers have continued this march of protest with their goal appearing right around the corner.
Germany announced earlier this year that medical marijuana will be legal by 2017. This statement came from the country’s Health Minister Hermann Grohe. “Our goal is that seriously ill people are looked after to the best of our ability,” he relayed in a statement to the press. Germany’s legalization would follow a string of countries who have recently made the decision to allow medicinal cannabis. The Czech Republic and Spain are two of the more recent EU nations to decriminalize marijuana.
Germany’s leap follows those of Mexico, Jamaica and Canada who have also made the decision to legalize marijuana. Health Minister Grohe brought forth a proposal that would create a national medical marijuana program. The program would entail a registry of patients who after being diagnosed with a serious illness, could purchase cannabis from their local pharmacy. The proposal also included marijuana as being covered by health insurance. According to estimates, this would more than accommodate the hundreds of applications the government receives currently for patients asking to be allowed to use cannabis as a medicine. The proposal would require strict government oversight and would bar someone from growing marijuana at home.
This year’s parade went off without a hitch. No arrests were reported during or as a result of the festivities. Germany’s commitment to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use is further evidence that the war against drugs, in particular marijuana, has failed.
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