Image: Annette Riedl/dpa/picture alliance

Hundreds of Germans participated in the annual Hemp Parade in Berlin this past Saturday. Police estimate 600 people joined the German Hemp Parade or Hanfparade.

The parade started at Berlin’s Rotes Rathaus (or Red town hall) and went down Unter den Linden Boulevard to Alexanderplatz.

The German Hemp Parade is an annual cannabis demonstration that began in 1997. Like April 20, or 4/20, the goal of the protest is to raise awareness and get cannabis legalized.

Every year the German Hemp Parade has a slogan. With the German government planning to legalize, this year’s motto was: “Hemp is great for peace and climate.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Critics of German Legalization

German Hemp Parade

Germany’s coalition government is planning to legalize cannabis, with the cabinet meeting this week to discuss the legislation.

Under the proposed law, cannabis-centric non-profit clubs will grow and distribute the plant. However, German residents can grow three plants at home for personal use.

The German government expects to save €1 billion (USD 1.11 billion) by ending the war on cannabis. Contrast this to the Canadian government, which told taxpayers that legalization would cost money and require more funding for police.

But while the German Hemp Parade is a popular event, not everyone is enthusiastic about legalization.

The German Judges’ Association believes small-scale legalization of social clubs will create new disputes that consume the court’s time. They also think it will hardly impact the “illicit” market.

The German police union is also critical of cannabis legalization. They think the draft bill doesn’t go far enough in describing how police will enforce the new rules.

“I hope that the Federal Ministry of Health doesn’t think our colleagues would measure the required 200-meter distance between a consumer and a day-care center with a tape measure,” a police union spokesperson told the German press.

Opposition parties are also critical of the draft bill. They think it’ll “create a real bureaucratic monster that can hardly be controlled,” Kristine Lütke told the Rheinische Post.

She wants cannabis legalization to “provide real protection for young people” while not burdening the police and judiciary.

Lütke, speaking for the Free Democratic Party, also rejects possession limits. “No one controls how many bottles of wine someone stores in the cellar,” she said.

German Hemp Parade

German Hemp Parade

This year’s German Hemp Parade had a lower turnout than in previous years. Some may attribute this to the German government’s plan to legalize.

But even if the draft bill becomes law, it doesn’t address the core of the German Hemp Parade’s message: “Hemp is great for peace and climate.”

It’s a topic we’ve covered before. So far, no cannabis legalization effort has framed the debate this way. Authorities associate cannabis with taxes. They assume people want to get high, and for many, this is the only goal. 

But cannabis is more than just THC. The German Hemp Parade believes hemp is excellent for peace and the climate. We agree. Here are ten reasons why.

10. The German Hemp Parade is Right About Soil Health 

The German hemp parade is right to promote cannabis beyond its THC content.

Our industrialized agricultural system is destroying the soil. Hemp’s deep root system helps prevent soil erosion, improves soil structure, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. If the world can’t grow food because of bad soil, then the wars and conflicts of the last century will look like child’s play in comparison. 

9. Reduced Deforestation 

Hemp is a sustainable alternative to wood. Whether for paper or construction materials, hemp ends deforestation and the conflict it creates between industry and environmentalists. It’s criminal for politicians to be collecting “carbon taxes” while ignoring this elephant in the room.

8. Carbon Sequestration & Water

The German hemp parade is right about using hemp to protect the environment. Hemp absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere compared to many other crops. As well, hemp requires less water than traditional crops like cotton. This is especially important in water-scarce regions, thus reducing conflict.

7. The German Hemp Parade is Right About Renewable Energy

We can use hemp as a biomass crop for producing clean and renewable energy through biofuel production and anaerobic digestion. Instead of relying on ineffective and heavily subsidized “renewable” energy or Russian oil, the Germans can create a hemp biofuel industry.

6. Biodegradable Products

A hemp industry ends the conflict between people worried about plastics in our environment and people who like owning stuff. We can use hemp fibres to create biodegradable plastics, promoting peace and climate.

5. Medicinal Benefits 

Hemp-derived products, such as CBD, have gained attention for their health benefits. As people age and live longer, healthcare systems worldwide are feeling the tension. Hemp has the power to reduce poor health outcomes. 

4. Food Security 

Cannabis is a vegetable. Its seeds are a nutritious source of protein, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients. Anybody can grow hemp. It doesn’t require capital-intensive production methods or even a lot of water. Nobody should be starving to death in 2023.

3. Cultural and Social Benefits

The German hemp parade is right about cannabis promoting peace. Bob Dylan said it the best: “Everybody must get stoned.”

Promoting cannabis cultivation can bring people together. Hemp can foster social cohesion and reduce tensions in certain regions through cultural practices or traditions.

2. Research and Innovation

Additional cannabis research can lead to the developing of new technologies and applications that promote peace and climate.

1. The German Hemp Parade is Right About Local Economies

A free market in hemp cultivation provides economic opportunities. Nothing promotes conflicts like 1% of the population controlling 99% of the economy. 

By revamping our industry to focus on cannabis, we can produce a system that strengthens social stability instead of undermining it. One surefire way is by promoting hash-coin, thus eliminating the power to create money out of thin air and charge interest on it.