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Get drunk, not high at Oktoberfest, Bavaria says

April 16, 2024

Authorities in Germany's Bavaria say they want to restrict the use of cannabis at festivals and beer gardens. Germany legalized recreational marijuana earlier this month, a move opposed by the Bavaria-based CSU.

People toasting each other at Oktoberfest with 1 liter glasses of beer
No problem here as far as the Bavarian authorities are concernedImage: Frank Hoermann/SvenSimon/picture alliance

Authorities in Germany's southeastern state of Bavaria announced on Tuesday that they will ban smoking cannabis at the popular Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich.

It comes after Germany's federal government partially legalized marijuana for personal use at the start of the month.

What did Bavaria say about the potential ban?

Cannabis consumption would be banned in beer gardens, at public festivals and on restaurant terraces if the plan comes into effect.

Bavaria's government said in a statement that it wants to "limit the public consumption of cannabis despite the federal government's dangerous legalization law."

Clemens Baumgärtner, the head of Oktoberfest, told the web.de news portal he wanted to keep the festival cannabis-free.

"A family festival like the [Oktoberfest] and cannabis consumption don't go together," he said.

Baumgärtner is a member of the Bavaria-based opposition conservative CSU party, which opposed the legalization measure.

"Bavaria is strengthening the protection of children and young people," said Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, also of the CSU.

"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."

A police officers in the foreground and the Oktoberfest Ferris Wheel in the background
Bavaria could make it illegal for Oktoberfest visitors to smoke a joint on the festival groundsImage: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

Germany partially legalized cannabis possession

Germany's new law regulating cannabis came into effect on April 1.

The move gives Germany some of the most liberal laws on the consumption of the drug in Europe. Malta became the first EU member state to legalize recreational cannabis use in 2021 and Luxembourg did so in 2023.

In Germany, adults over 18 are allowed to carry 25 grams of dried cannabis and keep up to three marijuana plants at home for personal use.

The substance remains banned for minors and cannot be consumed within 100 meters (328 feet) of schools, kindergartens and playgrounds.

A second part of the legislation, which will take effect in July, allows people to join clubs where they can buy the drug.

Under Germany's federal system, each state has some latitude in deciding how it will impose the new rules.

Up to 10 percent of Germans might grow Cannabis: Bernd Werse, Goethe University

sdi/sms (AFP, dpa)

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