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The legalization of cannabis in Germany seen through the eyes of the hacker who created an essential map

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A hacker from Koblenz, a city in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, has created a map with the places where, from today, April 1, 2024, it is legal to consume cannabis in Germany. CannaReporter spoke to the programmer who developed the “BubatzKarte“, where prohibited areas are marked in red throughout Germany, as they are close to buildings such as schools, hospitals or playgrounds. Johannes (fictitious name, as he prefers to remain anonymous) said that “programming and creating this map was an interesting challenge”. In addition to the map, the hacker shared with us his view on legalization: “Drug laws are degrading and disempowering and have no place in a free society. Problematic cannabis use is a health problem that requires medical help, not police help.”

Johannes is “just a person who lives in Koblenz”, Germany, and who would like to maintain his privacy. “I'm just a hacker who loves free software, I love programming and creating this map was an interesting challenge,” he told CannaReporter.

The map was created in Johannes' free time, who wanted to understand exactly what distances were mentioned in the law and what that would mean. “I had never created a map like this, so it ended up being an interesting project. Furthermore, at the time I created it, there were no other maps yet, something that has now changed. Our brains are heavily wired for visual recognition and visualizations are a natural fit for
data representation. For this type of data, a map is the first choice. So, anyone who wants to easily understand these rules will end up creating a map.”

The distances for prohibiting cannabis consumption in public spaces are displayed in red, but its developer leaves a warning: “The Bubatz map is based on public data from OpenStreetMap and may be incomplete. Everyone is responsible for their own actions”, he emphasizes.

BubatzKarte shows the areas where you can legally consume cannabis from today, April 1, 2024, in Germany. In red, prohibited areas are marked, as they are close to buildings such as schools, hospitals or playgrounds.

Since the law was approved in the Bundestag, the number of daily users of the BubatzKarte has been increasing, from “several thousand to 50.000 to 100.000 users per day”. Johannes says this is something he is not constantly measuring, but has done some research on. post on Fediverse.

“Drug laws are degrading and disempowering and have no place in a free society.”

O hacker German says this is “at least one way to see if any known relevant location is within 100 meters, but with the law, this is not the most adequate and accurate information.
The law mentions “Sichtweite” (which in Portuguese means visibility) before 100 meters, so it is relevant, if it can be seen from the playground, for example. If there is a building between you and a school, the 100 meters is irrelevant as the person cannot be seen anyway.
This limits the usefulness of the map, but it is still useful to have an idea of ​​what to look for and take into account.”

Johannes guarantees that he tries to keep the map updated and that he intends to move forward so that it is more inclusive. “I recently introduced features for people who have difficulty seeing colors. The map is currently useless for people who are blind or cannot see and that is something I would like to improve, if I can, in some way. There are a lot of interesting ideas, but I'm still just a person who does this in my free time and I think I'd like to keep it that way”, he reinforces.

BubatzKarte does not track users, does not share any information with advertising partners, as it has no advertising, and does not include privacy or privacy banners. cookies. Johannes explains why: “These are annoying things I don't like about the modern web. The map was created with myself in mind as a user, so why should I allow something that bothers me?”, he asks. The code of frontend was released as free software, so anyone can help improve it if interested, through this link.

“Problematic cannabis use is a health problem that requires medical help, not police help”

Regarding the so-called 'legalization' which Johannes sees first and foremost as “a decriminalization, as it legalizes possessing and producing cannabis, but not commercial stores” the hacker believes it is a good way to start, as people should not be encouraged to use cannabis: “Advertising is prohibited and the only legal ways to obtain cannabis will be as a medicine, growing at home or together in a club. I think this is a good way, as no one should be encouraged to consume cannabis, just to line the pockets of some investors. The advertising ban is something that we, as a society, should also establish for tobacco and alcoholic beverages. Cigarette vending machines should be abolished, as they make life very difficult for people who want to stop smoking, as tobacco is easily obtained on any corner.”

Johannes (not his real name), who created the BubatzKarte map, says he is “just a person who lives in Koblenz and a hacker who loves free software”

Johannes also sees advantages in the new law with regard to medicinal use. “The new law also makes it easier to obtain cannabis prescriptions, as a 'narcotics' prescription is no longer necessary. A standard prescription will suffice, which I hope will help patients access cannabis as medicine.”

The story of someone close to him, who had problems with the authorities because of cannabis, alerted Johannes to the problems that many patients face every day. “I personally knew someone with a terminal illness, who had problems with the law because it took some time to obtain a prescription. The person was unable to attend the court hearing as they were busy dying, so at least they were spared that.”

Johannes highlights, finally, that he also hopes that “the Bavarian police will stop bothering cannabis consumers”. Bavarian officials are known for being “very repressive” when it comes to cannabis. “Drug laws are degrading and disempowering and have no place in a free society. Problematic cannabis use is a health problem and requires medical help, not police help”, concludes Johannes.

Anyone who wants to connect with the map developer can do so via email: bubatzkarte@kowelenz.social

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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