Berlin's public transport authority (BVG) is ringing in the holidays by offering travelers unique edible hemp-infused tickets.
These tickets, available for one week only, cost €8.80 ($9.94), and are valid on Berlin buses and trains for 24 hours. An ad for the promotion shows subway passengers eating the tickets and then meditating and even levitating in the midst of a busy Christmas shopping rush. The ad also depicts a bus driver walking through a field of hemp plants and hanging harvested crops in a BVG “Cannabus.”
“The hemp oil obtained from the seeds of the cannabis plant is said to have a relaxing effect,” the BVG said in a promotional statement, according to Marijuana Moment. “And in contrast to the intoxicating active ingredient THC, it is completely harmless. And the stuff—this is not just really good, but also completely legal. That’s why there is now a ticket made of edible paper amid all the Christmas stress that you can swallow all your anger with. The hemp ticket: the ticket which not only brings you home, but maybe also brings you down a bit.”
As progressive as it might seem, the promotion is meant as a tongue-in-cheek advertisement, rather than a serious endorsement of legal weed. "Of course this is all to be taken with a twinkle in your eye," BVG spokesperson Jannes Schwentu told Reuters. He added that the main point of their promotion was to encourage travelers to use public transit "during the stressful Christmas period."
The tickets are made from edible paper and coated in hemp seed oil, but do not contain THC, or even CBD for that matter. So, it's not likely that eating the ticket will actually cause any psychoactive effect, other than a placebo. And there's one more catch – if you actually take a bite out of the ticket, it is no longer valid.
"We do make very clear that anyone who wants to use the ticket as an actual ticket, please only nibble on it or eat it after your journey as if it has a bite out of it, it is no longer valid," said Schwentu to Reuters.
The promotion seems perfectly timed to celebrate the German government's decision to completely legalize cannabis sales and use next year, but the BVG explicitly stated that it does not endorse weed legalization. “We are against any kind of drug use—whether illegal or legal,” the company said, Marijuana Moment reports. “We are for a more open approach to completely harmless substances. Hemp oil is in principle just as harmless as sunflower, pumpkin seed or olive oil.”
Regardless, the lighthearted promotion makes it clear that the negative stigma against cannabis use is becoming a thing of the past. Europe has been far slower to embrace cannabis reform than North America, but several countries are finally catching up.
Just this week, Malta, the smallest EU member nation, voted to legalize personal cannabis possession, home-grows, and use. Luxembourg also recently announced plans to adopt a similar law, and Italy will vote on decriminalizing cannabis and natural psychedelics in the spring. Switzerland and the Netherlands are also cautiously implementing pilot programs that could eventually lead to full adult-use legalization in those countries.