The ban on cannabis in Germany - a historical mistake

Das Cannabisverbot in Deutschland - ein historischer Irrtum

The cannabis prohibition in Germany - a historical mistake


We from Canna Berlin want to offer you the best hemp and CBD products in Berlin - sustainable, regional, vegan and healthy. Unfortunately, this is made more and more difficult for us by the authorities. Most recently, the police raided our premises and confiscated goods worth 5000€; a bitter loss for a small company like us. This harassment by the authorities is not only an expression of a failed policy of the city, but also the result of a historical error, namely the prohibition of cannabis from 1929. Because hemp was not always illegal in Germany, on the contrary, this wonderful plant has a centuries-old tradition as a useful and medicinal plant in this country. Time for a look back into history, firstly because such a look is exciting, secondly to explain to you why the ban on cannabis in Germany is an anachronism - it no longer fits into the present: Legalize it! Here we go.

Hemp in the Middle Ages

Originally, hemp probably came from the Far East, but as early as the 8th century, the Gauls were cultivating hemp crops in Europe. Charlemagne even prescribed hemp cultivation to his people and listed hemp as an important medicinal plant in his Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii . Quickly the plant spread throughout Europe and became part of the local culture: German, French, Dutch peasants planted hemp to feed themselves, the village and the farm, used its plant fibers for clothing and rope and made paper from them. The plant possessed such a high value to society that its theft was placed under a special penalty, as isolated manuscripts from the 14th century tell us. Even the first Luther Bible was printed on hemp paper! Fortunately, because this is how this historical document has been preserved for us until today.

A medieval picture of a roper. The ropemaker is spinning hemp fibers.

Hemp in the German Empire


A changed consciousness to hemp can be determined only centuries later, in the course of the industrialization this had fallen namely at first a little into oblivion. Nevertheless, none other than Wilhelm I, the German emperor, signed the "Ordinance, concerning the traffic with pharmacy goods" (sic!) on March 25, 1872. This comprised two paragraphs, namely:

  • 1. The display and sale of the preparations listed in the attached directory A. for medicinal purposes is permitted exclusively in pharmacies.
  • .
  • 2. The sale of the drugs (sic!) and chemical preparations listed in the enclosed directory B. to the public is permitted exclusively in pharmacies.

Also affected by this regulation was the "Indian hemp", among other plants such as myrrh, datura and belladonna leaves. Previously, everything around the subject of hemp had been completely legal, now only pharmacists were allowed to sell it. Nevertheless, it took another sixty years before hemp would actually become illegal in the German Empire.

Verordnung, betreffend den Verkehr mit Apothekerwaaren

The 1925 Geneva Opium Conference


Always again and again one refers in connection with the Cannabis prohibition to the role of the USA, which made a particularly strict drug policy by conservatism and prohibition, in fact Egypt made however in February 1925 on the Second International Opium Conference in Geneva the request to prohibit beside opium, heroin and cocaine, also Cannabis. This was because Fu'ad I - the king of Egypt - complained that cannabis was making his people lazy and work-shy and therefore wanted to ban it. His delegation leader El Guindy secured the support of the U.S., China, France and Germany and got the ban passed - against the protests of countries like India and Thailand, where hemp grew wild and was part of ritual and ceremonial culture. Germany supported the motion not because there was a cannabis problem in this country - no, smoking cannabis was rather alien to Germans - but rather out of fellow-travelerism: the German Empire simply followed its international partners instead of raising health, medical or social issues itself. That's why it took four years for the decisions made at the conference to be implemented in Germany, resulting in the Opium Act of 1929, in which cannabis was finally declared illegal. And this almost 100 year old law is more or less still valid today! In 1971, the Federal Republic of Germany tightened up the law once again and turned the Opium Law into a Narcotics Law. Otherwise applies: in the west nothing new. Or?

Das Reichsgesetzblatt zum sog. Opiumgesetz

Cannabis prohibition in the present - (k)an end in sight?

In fact, there are some soft signals that suggest that German politics could correct the historical error of cannabis prohibition. There are, after all, sufficient reasons for this: Hemp is an ancient useful plant, it is healthy, sustainable and has many uses: as a raw material in industry, for textiles, paper, cosmetics and oil, to name just a few examples. As a remedy in medicine, it has long been back in vogue - for example, as a painkiller in cancer therapy.

After all, the cultivation of commercial hemp has been legal again in the EU since 1996. Commercial hemp qualifies by the fact that its THC content is less than 0.2% and therefore can not be intoxicating - no matter how much you might try to get high on it 😉 So our Canna Berlin hemp and CBD products are based on commercial hemp from the region and are therefore completely legal - the question of legality is namely the one or other hemp and CBD newcomer, if he or she visits us in the Café Canna Berlin. Also hopeful is the findings of the WHO from last year that CBD has neither addictive potential nor is harmful to health! Also the Cannabislegalisierung in numerous states of the USA is a clear signal to local politicians*innen, they may perhaps to a re-evaluation of the conditions durchzuringen.  

Canna Berlin: One Team - One Vision. We want to share with you the benefits of the hemp plant!


Until then, however, a little water will probably have to flow down the Spree, but don't worry: We at Canna Berlin are patient and convinced to be on the right side of history. Even if soon the police knocks on the door or the Today Show falsely claims that CBD is mumbo jumbo - we continue and offer you the best hemp and CBD products in Berlin - sustainable, healthy, vegan, regional and legal! If you want to convince yourself, visit our store or come directly to our Café Canna Berlin and try for yourself the manifold effect of CBD!


Till then,

your team from Canna Berlin


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