Martini Meinreiß is a former construction worker, who in his words, "got infected with the cannabis legalization virus" several years ago. His blond-white dreads speak of an earlier chapter in his life spent as a bit of an international adventurer. These days, when not working on cannabis-related diplomatic missions of all kinds, he can be found in his garden and with the grandkids (from several extended families).
He is also known as the “Cannabis Mayor” of Augsburg - the third largest city in the German state of Bavaria. So far, Mayor Meinreiß has spent his life savings and countless hours promoting cannabis legalization locally as well as around Germany and internationally.
When not pursuing local as well as national politicians with a zeal and instinct rivalling the keenest bloodhound, Mayor Meinreiß is moving things forward from his tiny office – a sloped and beamed room in his charming apartment at the top of a 400 year old house in the oldest part of Augsburg. He might be described as a bit of a “cannabis Hobbit,” except for the fact that he is well over 6 feet tall.
Augsburg Is The Center Of Another Reformation
Those familiar with German history know that Augsburg is no stranger to revolutions. The split between the Catholic Church and Martin Luther began in this Bavarian city, which kicked off not only a watershed moment for religion but also a new age of scientific discovery in its wake.
These days, however, the city suffers from the malaise of many smaller towns in many western democracies. Augsburg has a drug problem. A bad one. Heroin, fentanyl and of course, the ever-present Spice are claiming lives at an alarming rate.
That crisis has motivated local residents to go to great lengths to do something about it.
A Cannabis Diplomat On An International Mission
Augsburgians not only know Mayor Martini Meinreiß (and like him). They also respect the work of a man who has tirelessly ventured forth not only locally but far from Augsburg's town limits to understand how to deal with this scourge threatening the soul of their town. More than 500 residents showed up at this year's Global Marijuana March Day to put their name on petitions to widen medical access here. Even the police are on the same side as the activists. Nobody likes Spice.
At the end of the day, Martini also had about $700 in donations.That will help him take his next steps, but it's definitely not enough. He has expenses that so far the reform movement has expected him to pocket "just because." Like shelling out several thousand euros just the week before to fix a van long unreimbursed by any travel budget.
There is no national non-profit patient or business reform group in Germany yet. Forward motion, in other words, relies on the time, effort and passion of people like Martini. And right now, with the exception of local fans, it is pretty much up to people like him to move the needle however they can.