Buds in Berlin

November 19, 2023 · High Times

Finding weed in Berlin is like going back in time. Sure, Germany has a medical cannabis program but it’s not Oklahoma. The regulations are very strict. You can’t just walk in off the street and start buying flowers and concentrates. It’s true that German legislators are working out plans for cannabis legalization, but adult-use cannabis dispensaries are estimated to be at least five years away. To find cannabis in Berlin, you gotta do it the old-fashioned way. You need a plug. A weedman. You gotta find somebody at the reggae club that looks trustworthy. Or maybe you put out the word on the internet (a few well chosen search words could probably lead you to an instant gram, if you catch my drift) and now you have a random Berliner sending you a menu on WhatsApp or Signal. 

It’s like going back in time. Weed is weed. Some cats are experts, but most of the folks you meet don’t really know the names of the strains they are trying to sell you. I found something nice, and my friends and I decided it was Northern Lights 5 (NL5) x Haze. It had that cream soda mixed with pinene aroma indicative of NL5 x Haze, and it is the kind of strain a story about time travel should have, but the guy who gave it to me didn’t know the name. It was just “weed” 1998 style.

“So basically, when we talk cannabis in Germany, there are two strains for the people: Haze and Standard. That’s everything.” So says my homie “Cakez” from the Gas crew, a loose knit collective of premium German gas growers. He has been a weedman in Berlin for 20 years, and is starting a legit grow in Canada, with an eye toward exporting to the legal German market when the time is right. We sat in his friend’s apartment, smoking his signature strain, known as Gascakez. I should add that on the elevator ride to the apartment, one of his neighbors complained about the smell of cannabis emanating from the building. (They had this whole conversation in Turkish while I stood around looking cute. Cakez speaks like four languages.) Cakez talked him down and everything proceeded smoothly. What Cakez didn’t mention is that his homie’s apartment has a grow room accessible via a secret panel, and they had just harvested, so the cannabis curing in the bathroom was stinking up the building. Remember growing weed in secret? Time travel. Cakez had a nice setup. LED lights do a lot to reduce suspicion. The grow room is small, maybe 3 x 10 feet, but the plants look great and it feels kind of good to be an outlaw again, even if only for a few hours. Cakez tells me that for the longest time, folks would smuggle weed and hash from the Netherlands, but with growing international interest in German cannabis policies, the weed is getting better and people are starting to learn.

“There’s one thing that has to happen here in Germany. The people have to get educated too. Don’t mix the cannabis with the tobacco. You can’t mix diesel fuel with gasoline, the car is not gonna work,” he says. Vroom vroom.

To be fair, the German cannabis scene isn’t all underground drug deals and clandestine meetups for dime bags. In Berlin, cannabis is somewhat tolerated by the authorities, and there is a growing (heh) “chronnissuer” scene. I was able to check out two events: the Mary Jane Berlin festival and the Full Moon Sesh. The Mary Jane Berlin is your typical trade show/cannabis event. There are lots of booths selling seeds and grow gear and rosin presses and whatnot. Plus there was a really nice outdoor area with plenty of places to smoke and a bunch of cool people to smoke with. The German medical cannabis program imports a bunch of pot from Canada and Israel, and some of it manages to show up at these sorts of events. I smoked a homegrown Israeli Creme Brulee (very nice flavor and excellent smooth effects), and I managed to get some Triple Sec (fruity and mellow) from the Israeli company known as Space Labs. 

Apparently, German medical cannabis standards are very strict. Medical cannabis producers love to use the word “pharmaceutical,” as in: “It’s not the same medical as California. It’s pharmaceutical grade. So it’s much more strict. You have to cultivate and process and eventually package everything by [European Union Good Manufacturing Practice] standouts, very similar to pharmaceuticals. And we can only be distributed to pharmacies, OK?” OK. I get it. Sheesh. It was hella good though. I gotta say that smoking medical cannabis on a party boat overlooking the Spree river on a sunny day was very therapeutic. Just what the doctor ordered. 

The Full Moon Sesh is a week-long cannabis concentrates competition. Say that three times fast. A tongue twister and a tantalizing terp-fest. Hash makers from all over the world managed to sneak some of their finest creations into Berlin. I didn’t catch all of the events, but I managed to make it to the awards session and it was great to see the hash heads in all their glory. I got to sit next to Dank Duchess and Mila the Hash Queen while they compared notes and talked shop. All the dabs were great and I really enjoyed the Banana from California-based company Hash & Flowers. There were some other ones as well, but I was too high to write things down. Probably because Terpy (a social club in Barcelona) was handing out small but mighty infused pretzels (250 mg THC each). Things got kinda blurry after that and I didn’t even eat the whole pretzel. 

To sum it up: Berlin has good weed, but you gotta hunt for it a little bit. As a canna-tourist, the best bet is to show up during a weed fest. If you don’t, you run the risk of having to find good weed the old-fashioned way. Viel glück! (Full Story)

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