Thousands of Europeans wandered through the streets of Berlin during the 20th Hanfparade, the manifestation which promotes the regulation of cannabis in Germany.
Azarius, Vaposhop and Exotic Seed sponsored the Dutch delegation to the 20th Hanfparade, under the guidance of Stichting Legalize! The Hanfparade is the parade which promotes the possible regulation of cannabis in Germany. A further emancipation of the cannabis consumer is a bit more necessary for our eastern neighbours. There users are still widely oppressed for their leisure activities.
This was for instance noted while assembling the Dutch delegation: a German with a driver's license who wants to dedicate himself to this green goal is hard to find as a result of the extremely strict traffic laws on cannabis use.
The Hanfparade exists as long as the famous Legalize Streetrave, which has not been held for eight years in Amsterdam. It was the fourth time that Legalize took part with a parade car. This edition which brought together the two friendly organisations felt like a reunion.
The big crew of activists, mainly from Amsterdam, were able to spend the night in several squats and experience for themselves that the cannabis policy in Germany has changed considerably in the last 20 years. 16 years ago when Legalize joined for the first time Hanfparade participants were constantly taken in by the Polizei. It is a sign of progress that this year the agents only requested once if the rolling of a joint could be halted during the technical control.
"Berlin is reasonable liberal," says Michael Knodt, one Germany's most prominent cannabis activists. "Possession under 15 grams has been decriminalized. But if you go to Bavaria, it is stricter. There they perhaps force you into treatment."
Michael himself experiences how difficult the situation in Germany still can be. He is a medical user and keeps everything perfectly in order. Even so, the police found a way to get at him during the Hanfparade. The police picked up his children to `examine' if they are doing fine with a "toking" father. For Michael - who constantly carries with him a little jar of Dutch Bedrocan - this is yet another reason to fight for a different policy.
As is customary in Berlin the afterparty of both sound-systems of the Dutch delegation carried on till the early hours. This also to celebrate that some things do go right. The mass arrests of the past are gone, and in Görlitzer park the sale of weed is practically tolerated. Oppression has not yet ended, but in the underground songs of freedom are sung abundantly.By Thijs Roes