BERLIN, GERMANY. 11 May, 2015. Story by Manfred Schwartz / Potcha. At a site where flowers are normally planted adjoining the Kottbusser Tor subway station, German police found themselves in a “weed” pulling operation on Monday after receiving a call from a railway station worker who discovered a large crop of 700 pot plants hidden there in plain sight. Subway employees say the small, healthy cannabis seedlings appear to have been planted some time over the weekend.
Police said it was unclear who had established the makeshift plantation, but they are investigating the matter. In the meantime, they have removed the plants and will investigate them at unspecified location.
For now, the matter is being treated as illicit cultivation of narcotic drugs, however it is not yet clear whether the plants fall under this category. In Germany, male plants or those containing very little contain THC are perfectly legal.
“We are still not at all sure that the plants contain THC,” said a spokeswoman from the Berlin Police Department. Because many of the seedlings were only two centimetres tall, the police could not test reliably for THC content. Police said that even without a THC-check proving the plants were harmless, they would still have to remove them, noting, “If we were to leave the plants, we would have twenty complaint calls per day. Therefore we had to intervene.”
Affectionately known as “Kotti” by locals, the Kottbusser Tor station is near “Görli,” a park in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin which is an illegal drug-dealing epicenter Berlin authorities have unsuccessfully tried to shut down for the past five years. The parks future has been the subject of fierce political debate in the city, with visitors and locals complaining about safety and crime in the area. In 2014 the Green Party, pushed for “cannabis cafes” to be opened in the park to sell legal, taxable marijuana in the hopes of putting criminal drug cartels out of business.
The measure is still being debated, and while possession of small amounts of medical cannabis is decriminalized in the city (up to 15 grams for personal use is permitted), lawmakers are still undecided on broader measures legalizing cannabis for recreation use, seeing this as “self-harm.”
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