Berlin Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Approve Proposal to Legalize Nation’s First Cannabis Coffee Shop
Berlin could soon be enjoying its very own legal marijuana, as the parliament of the trendy and hip Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district voted overwhelmingly in favor of a measure that could see the first legal coffee shop in the country.
After barely a month in office, the then-newly elected Mayor of the area, the Green Party’s Monika Hermann, came up with the idea in September to turn her district into a zone free of cannabis laws, akin to Amsterdam’s coffee shops or Copenhagen’s famed Christiania district.
The idea was born out of a realization that dealing with drug crime in the area’s famous Görlitzer Park was simply too much hassle for authorities, when their time could be better spent tackling hard drugs and organized crime.
According to Hermann, since the beginning of the year police have raided the park 113 times, detaining 984 people and launching criminal proceedings against 310 people.
The result of the district parliament’s vote has been turned into an application to be submitted to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. This should turn the infamous Görlitzer Park into a pilot project for marijuana legalization, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Friday, following the Green Party’s Thursday announcement.
The resulting petition was drawn up in cooperation with various experts, counseling centers and area residents.
“It’s not that I want to create a happy drug country,” Hermann stressed. “But I believe that we can mitigate the problem of drugs in the park by it.”
She believes that the “ban policy has failed” and that “we must now think of unusual solutions.”
Although the possession and sale of soft drugs in Germany is still against the law, police leniency towards pot has been on the rise, while steps toward its decriminalization have been taking place since the mid-nineties.