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Did German police tell Euro 2024 fans to smoke weed rather than drink alcohol?

A German citizen is seen smoking cannabis in front of Cologne Cathedral, Monday 1 April 2024
A German citizen is seen smoking cannabis in front of Cologne Cathedral, Monday 1 April 2024 Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Emre Basaran
Published on Updated
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This article was originally published in Turkish

German police have denied claims that they advised fans travelling to the country for the Euro 2024 championship to consume cannabis instead of alcohol, after news reports emerged stating the contrary.

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Police in Germany have denied claims that they recommended that football fans smoke cannabis instead of drinking alcohol while visiting the country to watch the Euro 2024 football championship.

The denial comes after UK tabloid The Sun reported on Friday that German police spokesman Stephan Knipp said that it was "no problem for fans to smoke cannabis on the street".

"If we see a group of people drinking alcohol and looking a bit aggressive, and another group smoking cannabis, of course we’ll look at the group drinking alcohol," Knipp reportedly said.

"Drinking alcohol can make someone more aggressive, and smoking cannabis puts people in a chill mood," added the spokesman for the city of Gelsenkirchen in western Germany.

However, Gelsenkirchen police have rebutted the claims, labelling the Sun report "false".

A Scottish fan stands atop of a giant replica ball ahead of a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland in Cologne, 19 June 2024
A Scottish fan stands atop of a giant replica ball ahead of a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland in Cologne, 19 June 2024AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

The police "will ensure the safety of the fans during the European Football Championship and will react to aggressive groups who act as troublemakers, regardless of intoxicants," according to German news outlet The Local.de.

"We do not explicitly encourage football fans to smoke weed," the spokesperson reportedly added.

The recreational use of cannabis was allowed in Germany on a federal level on 1 April, although there are certain restrictions.

For example, people are allowed to possess up to 25 grammes of cannabis in public places. At home, they're allowed to hold 50 grammes and can grow up to three pots.

Germany is the third country in the European Union to legalise the recreational use of cannabis after Malta did so in 2021 and Luxembourg in 2023.

So far, more than 50 countries worldwide have approved the medicinal use of cannabis.

National teams from 24 European countries are participating in the tournament, which started in Germany last Friday.

It marks the 17th edition of the tournament — the first Euro was held in France in 1960.

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