Get Drunk, Not High : Bavaria to Ban Cannabis Smoking at Oktoberfest and Other Public Festivals

Bavaria bans cannabis smoking at Oktoberfest and other public festivals, despite Germany's nationwide legalization, citing concerns for public health and protecting minors.

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Nitish Verma
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Bavaria to Ban Cannabis Smoking at Oktoberfest and Other Public Festivals

Bavaria to Ban Cannabis Smoking at Oktoberfest and Other Public Festivals

The Bavarian state government in Germany has announced plans to ban the smoking of cannabis at public festivals, including the world-famous Oktoberfest, as well as in beer gardens and other public spaces. The move comes after Germany legalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use nationwide earlier this month.

Bavaria's conservative-led government has been vocal in its opposition to the partial legalization and wants to impose stricter rules, including banning cannabis consumption in designated smoking rooms and areas. The state argues that the ban is necessary because consumers are not allowed to smoke cannabis near minors, who are regularly present at public festivals like Oktoberfest.

Bavarian Health Minister Judith Gerlach stated that the aim is to limit cannabis consumption in public spaces, especially to protect children and young people. The ban will also extend to the heating and vaporization of cannabis and cannabis products.

Clemens Baumgaertner, the head of the Oktoberfest festival, specifically wants to make the event a 'weed-free zone,' stating that a "family festival like the [Oktoberfest] and cannabis consumption don't go together."

Why this matters: The ban on cannabis smoking at Oktoberfest and other public festivals in Bavaria highlights the ongoing debate and differing approaches to cannabis legalization across Germany. It also raises questions about balancing personal freedoms with public health concerns and protecting minors from exposure to drug use.

While Germany has become one of the most liberal countries in Europe regarding cannabis laws, allowing adults over 18 to carry 25 grams of dried cannabis and keep up to three marijuana plants at home for personal use, Bavaria plans to impose stricter restrictions at festivals and public spaces. Bavarian Premier Markus Söder emphasized the need to limit cannabis consumption in public spaces, especially to protect children and young people, despite the federal government's legalization law .

Key Takeaways

  • Bavaria bans cannabis smoking at public festivals, including Oktoberfest.
  • Ban aims to protect minors from cannabis exposure at family-friendly events.
  • Bavarian government opposes federal cannabis legalization, plans stricter rules.
  • Consumption banned in designated smoking areas and through heating/vaporization.
  • Debate highlights differing approaches to cannabis legalization across Germany.