“The world’s largest open drug scene”: Munich’s deputy mayor argues with Oktoberfest hosts
Munich’s Second Mayor Dominik Krause uses alcohol consumption at Oktoberfest as an argument for cannabis legalization. The Oktoberfest hosts are angry.
The Oktoberfest has been an inseparable part of Munich since 1810; nothing in the world is as strongly associated with the Bavarian capital as the Oktoberfest. Dominik Krause, the city’s newly elected second mayor, has now caused anger with comments about alcohol consumption at the largest folk festival in the world.
In essence, it wasn’t about the Oktoberfest at all: the Green politician was supposed to take a position on the planned cannabis legalization in an interview with the Instagram channel “Münchner Gesindel”. Krause appeared to be a clear supporter – also with a view to the Oktoberfest: “We live in the city with the world’s largest open drug scene, namely the Oktoberfest, and that’s why I think that if you have that in the city, then you have to address the issue of legalization be just as clear.”
Oktoberfest host: “Beer is not a drug”
The deputy mayor also made it clear that he was not condemning alcohol consumption at the Oktoberfest per se: “In my opinion, both are completely okay, but both should happen within an appropriate framework.” Nevertheless, it moved Krause, who was elected second mayor by the city council two weeks ago, aroused the anger of the Oktoberfest innkeepers with his statements.
“Here, seven million visitors are equated with drug users and discredited,” complained the Association of Munich Oktoberfest Innkeepers. Peter Inselkammer, one of the association’s speakers, described Krause’s statements as “absurd and also an insult to Munich’s urban society.” There is “a world of difference between people who smoke hashish and people who celebrate happily at the Oktoberfest,” explained his colleague Christian Schottenhamel: “Beer is not a drug.”
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Oktoberfest: Number of drug violations increases
From a legal point of view, this is true; alcohol is considered a legal stimulant. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes alcohol as “a toxic, psychoactive and addictive substance.” After this year’s Oktoberfest, the police announced that there had been a significant increase in drug violations. This area of offense made up around a third of the total 1,093 reports. In addition, 238 people were taken into custody, most of them drunk people. However, the number has steadily declined in recent years.
Green politician Krause added to the “Bild”: “Cannabis is a drug, but so is alcohol. Drinking is socially accepted, but cannabis has been demonized for a long time. We have used double standards in Germany, or in some cases we still do . It’s good that the Bundestag now wants to change that with legalization.” At the same time, he pointed out that one shouldn’t take his statements “so seriously” – he also likes to go to Oktoberfest.