German Green's ice bucket challenge lights up dope debate

Reuters
Oezdemir of environmental Greens makes point during speech at party meeting in Berlin
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Cem Oezdemir of the environmental Greens party (Die Gruenen) makes a point during his speech at a party …

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German Greens party leader has taken the "ice bucket" charity challenge to a new high, standing next to a marijuana plant while dousing himself with water in a tacit call for the legalization of cannabis.

Cem Oezdemir is one of many public figures and ordinary citizens around the world to take the challenge - pouring a bucket of ice water over one's head to raise funds to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

But Oezdemir, whose party supports legalizing the drug for adults, acknowledged that the waist-high plant by his side in a video filmed on a Berlin rooftop was indeed a "subtle political statement".

"Yes, it is a cannabis plant," Oezedmir told the Essen-based Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) after speculation about the plant gripped social media.

"In a free society it should be up to each individual person to decide whether they want to consume cannabis and take the associated risks," he told the newspaper.

Possession, cultivation and consumption of cannabis is illegal in Germany although carrying small amounts is tolerated. In July, a court ruled that seriously ill patients could cultivate their own.

(Reporting by Bethan John; Editing by Erik Kirschbaum and Angus MacSwan)

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