The purchase of marijuana is generally prohibited in Germany, the exception being Berlin’s Görlitzer Park, which has long been an oasis for weed consumers and served as a shining example of the capital’s rather lenient drug policy. Throughout the years, the residents of the traditionally left-wing Kreuzberg neighbourhood have co-existed in a kind of deceptive peace with the dealers and buyers frequenting the park, while the police—apart from the occasional raid—have mostly turned a blind eye.
However, the rising number of dealers—most of whom don’t have a residence permit and no other option to make a living than by selling drugs—has led to violence, harassment and increased media attention centred around the area. Last year, the mayor of Kreuzberg, Monika Hermann, proposed the opening of a legal coffee shop in order to get a grip on the situation. The senate rejected the idea, while the tension continues to build and police activity in the park swells.
The latest episode in this back-and-forth has been a YouTube video circulating on German social media for the past few days. The tape features a guy standing in front of a colorful bus, parked in the middle of the Sahara desert, announcing that on June 21, he is going to open a coffee shop in Görlitzer Park. He appears to have carefully considered his plan; he’s got a business registration with the “permit” to sell “Moroccan Hash” and a poster that shows the types of hash he plans to sell. “Come to Görlitzer Park!” he shouts into the camera. “I’ll have shitloads of hash on me!”