This past Saturday a demonstration took place under the watchful eyes of the Munich police. It probably also fell on deaf ears of its intended audience. Most mainstream media outlets gave it only a passing glance. The demonstration took place before the Bavarian State Chancellery before winding along Maximilian Street, then through Promenade Platz before finishing at Karlsplatz Stachus. It was a gathering for the legalization of marijuana.
Many chanted, "I am here; I am loud, underneath a ganja cloud. I am here; I am proud, underneath a ganja cloud." Ganja is a slang term for marijuana. Bob Marley's anthem, "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights," and other reggae songs about sensimilia blared from some speakers attached to a flat-bed truck that was the center of the parade. Sensimilia is another term for marijuana.
I spoke to the leader of the demonstration, Steffen Geyer, who has made quite a name for himself in the last few years promoting his ideas for legalized cannabis. He has organized the 'Cannabis Kultour", a tour of Germany from Hamburg to Berlin that ends on August 12th, at the Hemp Parade, Europe's largest gathering for the legalization of marijuana. When he has finished his tour he will have traversed 100 cities in 100 days, trying to spread his message. I asked Mr. Geyer what exactly his message was. "We think that the laws against marijuana have little scientific backing, and if they did then clearly the more dangerous substance - alcohol - would be banished as well," said Mr. Geyer.
I saw a few Pirate Party (a political party) flags and I asked him if he was also a member of the party. "I have no party," he replied. "The Pirates, the Greens and even the Left all believe in the de-criminalization of marijuana, so you must choose and vote after much research, and not only on one issue."
Mr. Geyer was clearly the leader of this protest in the eyes of the adoring public who had come together, but Mr. Geyer said humbly that he was no more important than the other 10 or 12 people who had worked to put on this rally. Perhaps he was correct, but for those in attendance, he was the leader. Another thing that struck me when I spoke to Mr. Geyer was how articulate he was and organized his thoughts were.
The reason that Mr. Geyer continues to surprise people who first meet him is his personal appearance. Mr. Geyer has bright red dreadlocks which reach nearly to the back of his knees, as well as a big golden stud which is implanted a centimetre down from his bottom lip. When you see him you are not soon going to forget him, and that is point. "These people are voters," he continued. "And soon their voices will be heard. Bayern (Bavaria) is a free state, and yet I am not permitted to do what I want in my free time in a free land, though I bother no one. Times are a changing." They most certainly are.