Hemp plants began springing up at the beginning of summer in Göttingen's public flower beds. Gerrit Lebensiek, head of construction and planning for the town, swiftly ordered them to be ripped up, he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
“We are treating it like a weed,” he said. “This means that our team of gardeners have ripped up the plants, taken the roots out and have thrown them onto the weed pile where they are now turning into compost.”
He explained that because the hemp plants sown by pro-legalisation group Einige Autonome Blumenkinder were predominately male, they would not have a stimulating effect if ingested. It was, he said, the female plants that contained the more exciting chemicals.
This means that the plants could be used to make compost “because they are mostly male, the other plants won't start giggling when they get covered in it.”
Nevertheless, Lebensiek is not taking any chances. “We can't be 100 percent certain that they are only male plants,” he told the paper.
Not only was it better to be safe than sorry, but the hemp plants did not, he feels, fit in with the town's flower motif. “On Wilhelmsplatz we have a decorative border with marigolds and begonias in which hemp was planted. It just didn't fit.”
For now, Lebensiek has ridded the Lower Saxon town of its hippie horticulture and he has asked all of the government employed gardeners to keep an eye out. This is not, he admitted, something he can do alone. “I can't walk around the town all day checking that people aren't sowing seeds,” he said.