ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
HANFPARADE IN BERLIN: BETTER THAN EXPECTED
Since 1997 the German hemp scene once a year gathers in Berlin to celebrate the “Hanfparade” (Hanf = Hemp = Cannabis) and demonstrate for the Legalization of Cannabis as natural resource, medicine and recreational drug. The Hanfparade 2013 took place on the 10th of August following the slogan “Meine Wahl? Hanf legal!” (My choice? Legal hemp!).
At the end many of the at least 6500 participants thought Hanfparade 2013 was over a little to quick. With a colorful demonstration and a final rally much bigger then in previous years the attendees from all over Germany gave the slogan “Meine Wahl? Hanf legal!” face and voice. Some old stager of the German Legalize scene called it the best Hanfparade in 10 years.
The success of the demonstration credit the organizers to the decentralized mobilization efforts, as Martin Steldinger CEO of the organizing JaKiS e.V. explains: “Although it takes place in Berlin Hanfparade is an legalize event owned by all German hempsters. Take for example the more then 40 promotional videos people from all over Germany made for the demonstration.” It’s numbers like this 40 clips which infuse respect even into Hanfparade skeptics. Only a few people expected so much of everything of “Germanys biggest Pro-Hemp-Event”. Five Live Bands, 15 trucks, 24 informational booths, 30 speakers and uncountable happy faces are the result of the longest cannabis march in the history of Berlin.
The sheer length of the 7.5km way through the capital of Germany was one of the few critique points. Even with two in between stops in front of the central office of the conservative party (CDU) and the Bundesrat (house of states) helped a little but Hanfparade caused a lot of aching feets.
Especially the last part of the demonstration was a little bit to fast and the organizers blaim the participants for this. “Because of a short time of rain the people started to walk faster and faster” Martin Steldinger explaines “When the guys on the front banner start to get cold the rest of the demonstration has to follow their tempo.” Fortunately the rain stopped as fast as it started and nobody had to freeze at the final rally.
Like in 2011 this final rally will be discussed in front of German courts because the police in Berlin banned several parts of it – especially all the hempfood and drinking booths. A judgment from only a few months ago was ignored by the assembly office of the Berlin police so the organizers have to sue civilly again.
Because this kind of trouble always takes place in election years Martin Steldinger is seeing a political background for the decision. “As long as the conservative party is in charge of the ministry of interior you’ll need a lawyer to use you civil rights in Berlin. Especially if your goal is not within their believe system.” Other demonstrations like the Cristopher Street Day or the unions march never had this kind of problems. “After 17 Hanfparades no-one in the organizational team believes this happens by chance.”
Arbitrariness mustn’t be allowed to stop the truth so the Hanfparade organizers did their best to made the final rally a success within the tight regulations from the police. They invited several organizations to a free informational booth, offered a special medical area to cannabis patients and their doctors and presented building material, textiles and hempfood in a “natural resource area” patronized by the Hemp Museum Berlin.
Main event of the final rally was the 5 hours of music and politics on the big stage in front of the famous Brandenburger Tor. Because of the upcoming federal election in Germany there was a lot of high profile politicians on the Hanfparade stage. Most anticipated speeches came from Dr. Harald Terpe the speaker for drug policy of the green party and his left party colleague Frank Tempel who is a former police officer nowadays fighting for the Legalization of all drugs.
Beside professional speakers from political parties there were members of “the scene” too. One of them was Joep Oomen (ENCOD). He asked the participants of Hanfparade to help the European struggle for Cannabis Social Clubs and gave the advise: “Thinking global while acting local will change the world.”
Nobody can listen to speeches all day long so music also was an important part of Hanfparade. Five bands from electro punk to reggae performed live to support Cannabis legalization. Top act was the Berlin Hip Hop Crew “Bombenprodukt”.
Fans of less voice and faster beats had to choose between four trucks with goa, trance and techno at the opposite end of the Hanfparade 2013 final rally.
At 10pm Steffen Geyer, the assembly leader, closed the Hanfparade reminding the visitors that there’s chance and duty of doing legalize work for everybody and on every single day till the “German hemp family” will overcome the injustice of Prohibition.
The next Hanfparade will take place on the 09th of August 2014. See you in Berlin!
By Steffen Geyer
NEWS FROM THE SECRETARIAT
In the coming month, we will participate at the Cannabis Social Forum at the Growexpo in Irun, Spain
We are looking for Encod members who want to be responsible for feeding Encod with information on drug policy activism in their country, and vice versa. These ‘country correspondents’ will automatically become members of the Encod Inner Circle, which consists of at least one representative from each country. Please let us know before 9 September 2013 if you wish to be included in the Inner Circle Group.