On December 19, 2002, the offices of Germany’s Hanfblatt magazine were raided by a squad of local police officers.
The raid was spurred by Hanfblatt’s Mr Big Bud column, which encouraged readers to send in photos of their biggest and best plants, with hopes of winning a prize from the magazine.
The local prosecutor’s office reasoned that photos of bud plus mailing addresses was evidence of ongoing crime, and so called in police officers to launch the raid.
Details on the Hanfblatt situation are sketchy. Staff are reluctant to grant interviews, although their website does contain notice of the raid. It is not known how many reader photos and addresses were seized, nor what further action police intend to take. As of this writing, six months after the raid, there are no reports of any people being busted due to their seized photographs.
Meanwhile, Swiss-based magazine Hanf! also suffered raids of a different sort in spring and fall of 2002. Roger Bottlang, publisher and managing director of Hanf!, has been in jail since late last year on charges of pot cultivation. Bottlang was growing cannabis in an industrial warehouse in Switzerland, where growing high-potency cannabis is ostensibly legal as long as it is not grown for “narcotic” purposes.
Bottlang claims his crop was to produce cosmetics and material for his magazine, but Swiss cops disagree and have been holding him since the end of 2002. Hanf! magazine has ceased publication since that time and it is unknown if it will ever continue.