We’re Only Here For The Beer Say German Octoberfest Organizers.

File photo. Oktoberfest is all about the beer, but will cannabis be banned citywide?
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Germany’s most famous festival, Bavaria’s beer-soaked Oktoberfest may be declared a “cannabis-free” zone, even though marijuana was recently legalized in Germany.

Marijuana was part-decriminalised across Germany on 1 April, and Germans can now grow their own – but the rules have met resistance, especially among conservatives.

The announcement of a potential restriction on cannabis use at events like Oktoberfest faced criticism on social media.

Users pointed out the perceived hypocrisy of banning cannabis, which has been decriminalized and legalized for personal use, at an event where alcohol is widely consumed.

This mirrors a broader debate wherein alcohol is considered far more dangerous than cannabis. Critics highlighted that state authorities allow the large-scale use of alcohol while imposing restrictions on cannabis despite its legalization for personal use.

Bavaria’s leader said on X that his state won’t become a “stoner’s paradise”.

Millions of litres are consumed by millions of people at Oktoberfest’s annual party, which takes place in September to October in Munich.

But, like events across Germany, organisers will now have to navigate new – and complicated – cannabis liberalisation laws.

Adults can grow, carry and smoke limited amounts of the drug in a move that proponents say will improve quality control and curb the black market.

But opponents believe the changes will actually fuel the black market, be an added burden on police and damage the health of young people.

Unable to prevent the law from passing at a federal level, unhappy states might be able to signal their resistance through local implementation.

And is Germany’s southern state of Bavaria – often known for going its own way – set to become a testing ground?

Cannabis users will face “strict action”, promised its premier, Markus Söder.

On Tuesday, a senior member of Mr Söder’s team said proposals were being examined to allow the creation, by municipalities, of “cannabis-free” zones.

A solution “for example, for folk festivals or for the Oktoberfest”, said Bavarian state minister for federal affairs Florian Herrmann.

Smoking weed in Munich’s well-known public park, the English Garden, could also be prohibited – according to the German Press Agency.

However, some will question whether this tough talk is more a sign of political grandstanding than a hard-edged approach to the law.

The federal regulations detail plenty of places where weed can, and cannot, be consumed – already effectively creating cannabis-free zones.

For example, you aren’t supposed to smoke marijuana within 100m (330ft) of a school, playground or public sports centre – or in pedestrian areas during the day.

Fines can be handed out for flouting the law, with Bavaria pledging particularly stiff penalties – such as €1,000 (£856; $1,085) for using the drug near a child.

But it’s unclear whether events like Oktoberfest would have already, in effect, been cannabis no-go zones under the federal law.

While primarily known for its people blitzing big jugs of beer, the “folk festival” is also attended by families and children.

The BBC approached Oktoberfest for comment, but received no response.

Sources: BBC, Forbes.
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