Germany: Berlin council votes to open first cannabis cafe

Cannabis plant

Councillors in Berlin have voted to launch the country's first cannabis cafe in their district. But some hurdles remain, it's reported.

A large majority in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg council have backed the move as part of efforts to curb local drug dealing, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reports. District Mayor Monika Herrmann says the "prohibition policy" of the past few decades has failed: "We now have to think about offbeat solutions."

German law prohibits the public sale of narcotics, but exceptions are possible "for scientific or other purposes in the public interest". The Berlin district apparently wants to rely on this clause when it applies for permission to the federal authorities. But the Sueddeutsche Zeitung warns that other legal issues will have to be clarified, such as who is to run the cafe and how the cannabis should be sourced.

The neighbouring Netherlands already has hundreds of so-called coffee shops where the sale of limited amounts of cannabis is tolerated.

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