Lots of other places have elections this year, too. One of those elections — Berlin — is about cannabis. Here’s more:
Berlin will vote for a new state Parliament and a new mayor on Sunday, and for the first time ever, cannabis is playing a role in the campaign.
While cannabis isn’t the Berlin electorate’s chief concern, it is one of the most discussed topics of this year’s campaign. A 2014 coffeeshop pilot program proposal, which would have allowed Dutch-style cannabis coffeeshops, sparked a debate that continues to this day. It’s a popular topic not only because support for legalization is 40 percent in Berlin—more than in any other German state—but also because of a controversial, zero-tolerance policy in the popular Görlitzer Park, a new enforcement effort that has brought the issue to the center of public attention.
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Like the Pirate Party, the Left Party, Liberals, and Greens all support an end to prohibition. All four parties have plans in their manifestos to establish a regulated cannabis market. Even the biggest party, the moderate left Social Democratic Party (SPD), has been toying with a liberal cannabis policy despite a 2015 survey that showed a small majority of members actually opposed legalization.
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Clearly leading the mayoral polls in Berlin is Michael Müller, a member of the SPD who has ruled the capital with the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) since his predecessor, Klaus Wowereit, stepped down in 2014.
The cannabis-friendly climate seems to frighten the CDU, Germany’s largest political party and that of German President Angela Merkel. The party, traditionally weak in the capital, recently put a countdown clock on Facebook that displays the time until the election. It features a large cannabis leaf and the logos of the four parties supporting regulation. “CDU Berlin warns: Legalization of cannabis is imminent,”
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