Weed War Marijuana Plants Sprout across German City

The German university city of Göttingen is being taken over by marijuana plants. Behind the phenomenon is a group of pro-pot activists who planted seeds around town to stir debate over the plant's illegal status. City authorities are not amused.

Grüne Jugend Göttingen


The university town of Göttingen is getting greener and greener. But not everyone is pleased: The new plants sprouting up in parks, planter boxes and gardens across the city aren't part of an official city-beautification project. They're part of a pro-marijuana protest.

In early June, a group calling itself "A Few Autonomous Flower Children" spread several kilograms of marijuana seeds throughout the city. Only now are the fruits of their labor beginning to emerge from the soil. "We can't set eyes on this useful and beautiful plant because it's absolutely forbidden in Germany to grow it," the group wrote in a letter claiming responsibility for the action. And they say that's not right.

Planting the seeds was a protest against Germany's "restrictive drug policies," the group said, arguing that it's incomprehensible "why cannabis, unlike alcohol, cannot be legally purchased." They called the absolute ban on the cultivation of marijuana plants -- even ones with low levels of the psychoactive agent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- absurdly strict, and said their actions were a "sign against the demonization of cannabis." The group emphasizes that the strain of cannabis they planted across the city had low THC content.

Thedecriminalization of marijuana in Germany has been a controversial issue for years, as it has been in many countries around the world. Opponents argue that the drug is by no means harmless, which is why it should remain illegal.

Proponents say the legal drugs of alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than cannabis -- and they use numbers to back their argument up. Tens of thousands of people in Germany die each year from causes related to alcohol and tobacco consumption. They also argue that the criminalization of marijuana brings users in contact with crime rings, where harder drugs also circulate.

'The Majestic Beauty of this Magnificent Plant'

The Flower Children have found support in the local chapter of the Green Youth (GJ), the youth wing of the Green Party. "The legalization of hemp is a matter of interest for us," a spokesman said. A similar pot-planting protest took place last year in Göttingen, he said, but on a much smaller scale. "Now the plants are spread out across the whole city."

In order to increase the public discussion of the issue, the GJ started a photo competition, now in its second round. About 40 photos of pot plants were submitted, but no winner will be chosen. "The beauty of the photos is enough," a spokesman said.

The GJ published the photos on its website (German only), and called on the readers to "enjoy with deep relaxation the majestic beauty of this magnificent plant!" The pot plants appear in meadows and in front of houses -- even in front of the city's police station.

The police, not surprisingly, are not as taken with the plant's supposed beauty and have launched an investigation for violation of narcotics laws. "This action is a big deal, people really put effort into it," said Göttingen police spokeswoman Jasmin Kaatz. Everywhere seeds could be sown, hemp plants are sprouting, she said.

The police said they are using the photos on the GJ website to identify numerous spots where the plants are appearing. Patrolling officers are vigilant, Kaatz said, and destroy any plants they see while on duty. "Everything that looks like hemp is torn out," she said.

Employees of the parks department are also working to rid the city of the plants. Detlef Johannson, spokesman for the city government, said 70 plants have been removed so far and that more should be expected.


Discuss this issue with other readers!
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rst2010 07/12/2013
1. 'marijuana'
the correct name is 'hemp', ordinary hemp.
Donac 07/12/2013
This is just the beginning of the protest. Soon you will realize that Göttingen is not the only city in Germany participating in the "Sea of Green" mission. Good weed for everyone! Enjoy!
az1 07/12/2013
3. Great move: demonstrates flaw in laws
It already seems to be a violation of basic human rights to forbid THC use, but to forbid a plant is outrightly ridiculous. Just sad that the police waste their time on fighting a peaceful plant that does not attack nor rob anyone.
peterboyle.4848 07/13/2013
4. Pressure Is Mounting
I had to laugh at this. We did the same thing back in the 60's, it was great fun. But on the serious side, the pressure is mounting around the world to change the laws on both Marijuana and Hemp. Everyone is tired of the WAR ON DRUGS that the US has almost single handedly forced on the world. The US neighbors in Central and South America are in open rebellion against US interference in their internal policies, and with the rising death toll that US funding for military solutions has brought about. In the past, any non-American political leader who advocated anything different than US policy was either out spent in elections or overthrown once in office. To outlaw Hemp is to outlaw a very useful and innocuous plant that would offer farmers a new source of income and offer the rest of us a source for paper, clothing, food, and other products that is superior to what is available today. Outlawing Marijuana is almost as bad. There have been no deaths reliably connected to marijuana except for the deaths from gunshots fired by authorities in their suppression of marijuana. The documented medical benefits of marijuana are numerous, and well researched. This plant has proven medical efficacy. To address the 'euphoric' attributes of marijuana as significantly more dangerous than alcohol does not stand up to any scientific or medical research. But it is those 'euphoric' attributes that the authorities seem to be bothered by, particularly the US. Both science and our culture have progressed. Science tells us the marijuana is innocious as an intoxicant, very usefull as a medicine, and utilitarian as a plant. What is the problem? The problem seems to be, as usual, that the entrenched powers have taken a stance ans refuse to reconsider that stance even in the face of both scientific and social evidence to the contrary. Several countries in Europe have de facto decriminalized marijuana and did not sink into the 'cesspool of crime and addiction' that the authorities promised would happen. It is time to stop wasting money, futures and lives prohibiting something that a majority of people want legalized.
dare2baware 07/13/2013
5. GOOD news!!!
In many many ways this is great news. The system is screwing us and we just put up with it. For medicin reasons I am ALL up for Cannabis (Cannabidiol). I certainly would use it if I needed it!!
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