Bavaria Bans Weed for Oktoberfest

Stephen Andrews
18 Apr 2024

Cannabis is finally legal for recreational use in Germany. But the plant will not be allowed at one of the country’s signature events, the Oktoberfest which is held every September through October in Munich, Bavaria. You can only get high on beer if you go there, but not on weed, the Bavarian authorities have ruled.

Beer is fine, but not cannabis. So much from crossfading. The government of the southern German state of Bavaria is enforcing a ban on weed at public festivals, inside beer gardens, and during one of the biggest events in the country, the Oktoberfest. The decision was made on Tuesday, April 16, various news outlets reported

Munich’s celebrated beer festivity attracts millions of visitors every year. Every year during Oktoberfest around 6.9 million litres of beer on average are consumed. The festival starts in September and wraps up on the first Sunday in October. 

This year’s Oktoberfest would be the first in which Germany has legalised the personal use of weed. Nevertheless, Bavaria was one of the federal states that did not favour the partial legalisation of the plant. 

The new legislation, which entered effect on April 1, permits Germans aged 18 and above to carry up to 25 grams of cannabis in public, and stock up to 50 grams at home. 

During the summer, the EU country will oversee the launch of its social cannabis clubs, where each club can accommodate up to 500 cannabis consumers. Still, the law does not allow commercial retail. 

The aim of Bavaria’s ministries is to make the use of weed less attractive. They have explored various ways to achieve that. 

“Our aim is to limit cannabis consumption in public spaces,” said Bavarian Health Minister Judith Gerlach. “That is important for health protection and especially for protecting children and young people.” 

Bavaria’s conservative-led state government was most heavily opposed to the legalisation of weed. 

Just a week before cannabis officially became legal for personal use, Bavaria issued a catalogue of fines for those caught using weed in public areas. 

The authorities have introduced fines of up to €1,000 (£855) for using weed in unauthorized public spaces or in the presence of children and youth. The fines move up to €30,000 (£25,670) for advertising activities or distribution of cannabis. 

In a recent post on X, Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria and Leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) said that Bavaria would not become a “stoner’s paradise.” 

The message is clear. Bavaria is not the most welcoming place in Europe for those who like to chill out with the therapeutic herb. 

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Stephen Andrews