Berlin Council authorizes first cannabis café

Posted Nov 30, 2013 by Cameron Christner
Berlin council voted in favor of the first cannabis café, with the hope of impeding illegal drug dealing. However, accompanying problems remain unsolved.
A view of a neon sign of a cannabis coffee shop in Amsterdam  The Netherlands
A view of a neon sign of a cannabis coffee shop in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Massimo Catarinella
Due to continued failures to curb the drug trade by law enforcement, council members hope that by creating a lawful way to buy and sell cannabis, illegal suppliers will quickly become irrelevant.
As Kreuzberg district’s new mayor Monikia Herrman says, "If we want to gain control of the dealers and their products, we must manage the distribution."
The overall plan here is to get around Germany's strict prohibition laws using a clause which states that narcotics can be legally sold for "purposes in the public interest." However, questions remain as to who will run the café, where the narcotics will be grown, and if there will be any restrictions as to who can buy it and in what quantities.
Previously, German law prohibits the buying and selling of drugs, however it is legal to have a certain amount for personal use. As they stand, the new laws will basically make cannabis legal, as it will be available to just about anyone who wants it.
Perhaps this change of policy in Berlin will spread throughout Germany or maybe it will fall short of the mayor's expectations, it's really too soon to tell. However, legalization activists see this as a huge step towards legalizing marijuana, and are calling for even more changes, using the neighboring Netherlands as their model, in which hundreds of these cafés are currently active and thriving.