Last Saturday, German’s most passionate cannabis activists hosted the Hanfparade (Hemp Parade) for the 21st time since 1997.
An estimated 2,000 participants joined the 2017 Hanfparade, proudly marching through the streets of Berlin under the motto “Breiter kommen wir weiter” (“The wider our range, the bigger our progress”). Even with attendance slightly down from last year’s event — the largest German legalization demonstration to date — the mood was electric and the event set a colorful, loud, and hopeful sign for the legalization of cannabis in an influential European nation.
The event kicked off at 10 a.m. in Washington Square, right at the main station in Berlin. Poor weather at the onset failed to disturb the high spirits aboard the Weedmaps bus or among the demonstrators on foot.
The crowd enjoyed speeches by elected officials and activists, as well as various musical contributions that set the tone for a peaceful and cheerful demonstration at the central station before setting off for the march shortly after 2 p.m.
Accompanied by booming basses of music, loud slogans, and many creative posters, the participants walked passed the Chancellery and the German Bundestag on their course toward the Federal Ministry of Health, where a small stopover took place. Directly in front of the seat of the outgoing German Drug Czar Marlene Mortler, the well-known youth judge Andreas Müller explained the dangerous context between cannabis prohibition, false prevention strategies and the steadily increasing number of cannabis offenders among the younger generation.
The parade pushed on to Alexanderplatz, passing most of the government quarter of the capital.
The audience grew into the late hours as live musical acts and speeches were alternating on the main stage and when Macka B. went on stage shortly after 9 p.m., several thousand attendees demanded to “legalize the herb” or wanted their ”Medical Marijuana Card.” Demonstrators and random passers-by celebrated throughout the night, calling for the legalization of cannabis peacefully and cheerfully.
In addition to the stage program, there were numerous information booths to educate attendees about the current status of medical as well as recreational cannabis in Germany. At the Weedmaps booth, many cannabis patients were keen to compare experiences from the German medical program to those overseas, while recreational users wanted to know more about the status of marijuana in California, Nevada, and Canada.
Despite the decline in the number of visitors, which was certainly a result of the rainy weather, the Hanfparade 2017 was a complete success.
Onlookers had trouble escaping the contagiously positive mood radiating from the demonstration, many smiling faces could be seen in the surrounding trucks and cars. The legalization movement is becoming mainstream — the common goal of the end of prohibition and the release of cannabis has slowly become visible on the German capital’s horizon.