back to article Danger! High voltage: German customs bods burn half-tonne of weed in power station

A power station in Olching, Bavaria, blazed like it was 4/20 yesterday after German authorities used it to burn around 550kg of marijuana. The weed, Südeutsche Zeitung reported, could have provided close to 3.8 million joints. It was discovered by the Munich Customs Department in a Serbian truck south of Nuremberg in December …

  1. LeahroyNake Silver badge
    FAIL

    What a waste ?

    With the incinerator running at 900-1,000oC, all organic compounds, including the THC, were burned away, which meant there were no side effects for the locals.

    I'm sure a few Coffee shops in Amsterdam would have taken it off their hands for more than the price of the electricity it provided?

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: What a waste ?

      Exactly. "Nobody got high in Olching."

      Only the weed got wasted that day.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: What a waste ?

        "Nobody got high in Olching."

        That rather assumes none of the stuff 'accidentally' failed to make it into the furnace...

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: What a waste ?

          /me wonders if they played Jimmy Hendrix on the ghetto blaster while the incinerator was churnin' and burnin'.

        2. drewsup

          Re: What a waste ?

          Yes today the government burned 550 kilos, wait... Make that 540 kilos of high grade weed, hey can I get a Mountain Dew over here, got a bad case of dry mouth for some reason

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a waste ?

      an everyone is up in arms about burning coal - wtf!

      The authorities should be hit with a fine for releasing all that carbon into the air.

      Global Warming People!

      (not to mention that could have also chilled quite a few people out...)

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: What a waste ?

        "The authorities should be hit with a fine for releasing all that carbon into the air."

        Don't worry mate, there's plenty of people growing weed who will ensure that the carbon is swiftly captured and turned into leaves and stems etc..

        Anyway, what were you expecting to happen to the weed if it had ended up being sold to end users?

  2. vir

    Give Us The Facts We Need

    "The weed, Südeutsche Zeitung reported, could have provided close to 3.8 million joints."

    But how many kWh did it provide?

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Give Us The Facts We Need

      Or more usefully, how many Norris x Percentage of maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum is that?

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Give Us The Facts We Need

      At a guess, assuming about 10 MJ/kg, which is 3 kWh/kg near as dammit, about 1500 kWh.

  3. DNTP

    "Cannot be traced back to the source"

    But dudes, isn't, like, the Earth, like, the source for everything? Its kind of like a mother, the Earth Mother, and she grows all the best stuff for us. And like, the Germans, they're burning all that stuff, all of Mother's stuff, that's like, not cool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

      "And like, the Germans, they're burning all that stuff, all of Mother's stuff, that's like, not cool."

      No, it's quite hot. Did you read the article?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

        Which means it's NOT cool. Which means it's either COLD (as in ice-cold) or HOT (as applies here).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

      Not necessarily. Some stuff comes from OUTSIDE the Earth, you know, as in extraterrestrial stuff. Meteorites, for example, don't come from Earth, so Mother Earth isn't everything's mother like you think.

      1. EarthDog

        Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

        So like, haven't you seen the videos, man? So the ancient astronauts gave these mind expansion drugs like marijuana and mushrooms to like, expand our minds so we could get to the next level. You know, like evolution. Open our minds to the higher planes. Where'd the pizza go?

        1. Mike VandeVelde
          IT Angle

          Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

          life is common in the universe, intelligence not so much. there's fungus... and that's pretty much it. fungus colonized the earth with meteors billions of years ago and is the main biomass on the planet today. our ancestors walked the mushroom dotted plains of africa hundreds of thousands of years ago and first ate the fruit(fungus) of knowledge which gave us some basic abilities in "imagine something novel and make it real". ever since weve been building/becoming a "better hammer" than random (?) meteors for further colonization. we are basically one of their recent experiments in monkey breeding. i hope they are happy with us so far and decide to keep us. *>D

      2. Ben Bonsall

        Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

        Not necessarily. Some stuff comes from OUTSIDE the Earth, you know, as in extraterrestrial stuff. Meteorites, for example, don't come from Earth, so Mother Earth isn't everything's mother like you think.

        So you're saying mother earth is getting stoned with some extraterrestrial rock?

        1. DNTP

          Re: OUTSIDE the Earth

          My dudes, all that stuff coming from outside is like, the Earth Mother's gravity field hugging it and bringing it in. Its like, she's ordering us space pizza for after we smoke all that awesome stuff.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Cannot be traced back to the source"

        "Some stuff comes from OUTSIDE the Earth".

        Technically everything came from outside the earth, including the earth.

  4. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I applaud the Germans burning stuff to make more precious Gas of Life.

    1. petur

      Re: Bah!

      yeah, they're getting good at it, with no decrease in production of it ever since they decided to shut down nuclear

  5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Quentin Sommerville

    So, not this again...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2883792/Red-faced-BBC-reporter-Quentin-Sommerville-gets-high-reporting-stack-burning-drugs-warns-viewers-Don-t-inhale.html

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Quentin Sommerville

      And also a bit of drop the dead donkey

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbXYnisZP9c

  6. adnim Silver badge

    What a waste

    see title

  7. Spasticus Autisticus
    Happy

    TT

    "Nice"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4/20 - this is the UK dammit

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Although its a phrase that has crossed over to here (like so mant US phrases) and is occasionally used in reference to the holy herb

  9. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    So it's about 10 wheel barrows of weed. Big deal.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      You’re right. It’s not many doubledecker buses worth

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

    Maybe this is a thing for Brexiters, maybe I just feel too European after working on one of those old 'Esprit' projects back in the AI Spring of the 1980's ... On the other hand ...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-80133/Germans-sour-Kraut.html

    from which I quote ...

    "In its ruling today, the ASA said the word krauts did portray German's negatively, but ruled it would be "generally understood as a light-hearted reference to a national stereotype and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence".

    But staff at the German Embassy in London disagreed with the ASA decision, saying that most Germans would find the phrase offensive.

    An Embassy spokeswoman said: "It is not a very nice name and it is certainly not nice to be called a name related to cabbage.

    "I think over time the word has attracted very negative connotations, so most people would be offended by it."

    And Cultural attache Tilman Hancker added: "Speaking personally I would be offended to be called it and I think most people would not find it a very nice name."

    FYI: According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraut the word first surfaced 99 years ago - I think it's time to put down the "Commando" & "Victor" comics and grow up a bit ?

    1. ukgnome

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      I agree and disagree....

      The europeans have always had a way of describing each other using a food based item that is native to that country. We tend to only use if for France and Germany, and maybe a little bit towards Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It doesn't make it right but its not like they don't do it back to ourselves in England.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

        "The europeans have always had a way of describing each other using a food based item that is native to that country"

        /me wonders what Americans would be... 'Hot Dogs' perhaps? But it really varies from state to state.

        In Cali-fornicate-you it's easy: Fruits, nuts, and flakes [at least in S.F. and silly valley]. But here in San Diego I guess it could be "Fish Tacos". Rubios. Yum!

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

          maybe "too much" for Americans?

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

          ".../me wonders what Americans would be... 'Hot Dogs' perhaps? But it really varies from state to state..."

          SPAM's

        3. Andy 97

          Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

          No, Americans are Septics.

    2. jjk

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      I'm German and I would rather be called a Kraut than a Hun, a name lovingly bestowed on us by our very own Emperor Wilhelm II (may he roast on the sultry side of hell for all eternity).

    3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      You've just written an essay, with references, telling us that we shouldn't call Germans by a (now lighthearted ) nickname, of which I'm sure they have their own for us. And the *readers* of your post should grow up a bit?

      Don't be such a Nancy.

    4. Fortycoats

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      I think the pun is somewhat appropriate for this article, as Kraut, or rather its plural "Kräuter" is the German word for herbs....

      The Germans also take the piss out of the British for what they consider culinary blasphemy. Like warm beer, the contents of a fry-up, mint-sauce with lamb, and vinegar on chips (and this from a country that considers mayonnaise as an acceptable condiment to chips, the heathens!).

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

        Especially ironic they dislike vinegar on chips as they have such a love for pickled food in general (it's hard work getting a meal with fresh (instead of pickled) veg accompanying it in German cuisine - on my visits I soon gave up on German food and made sure I visited restaurants specializing in cuisine of other nationalities)

        1. Fortycoats

          Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

          They're just using the wrong vinegar. You try finding malt vinegar in a German supermarket. Only wine or apple-based stuff on the shelves here. Yuck! Only good for descaling the kettle.

      2. VictimMildew

        Re: warm beer

        Ale at cellar temperature is only "warm" when you compare it with the temperature lager has to be sold at to ensure it can be drunk without any of the flavour surviving.

        Overheard in an off-license, where the chiller had just been refilled: "The Stella's warm. Don't buy any. It tastes like shit when it's warm". Actually, it tastes like that all the time but you don't notice when it's almost frozen.

    5. Excellentsword

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      I perceive kraut as an affectionate nickname with no offence intended i.e. krautrock. Should we call it weirdo, minimalist, German music to take drugs to? No.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

        Well, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk are both better when you're hammered.

        And they're good to start with.

    6. handleoclast
      Coat

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      An Embassy spokeswoman said: "It is not a very nice name and it is certainly not nice to be called a name related to cabbage.

      He sounds like a bit of a sour kraut.

      There, there, mon petit chouchou.

      Mine's the one with a cream puff in the pocket.

    7. Scroticus Canis
      Facepalm

      Re: "Kraut" ? really ? in the 21st century ? after 70 years ?

      You actually quoted from a Daily Wail article on El Reg?

      Rather a green mistake even if you are not so cabbage looking.

  11. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    For Americans

    How about "Supersize"?

  12. herbgold
    Happy

    "Devil's Lettuce" LOL

  13. VictimMildew

    THC, the active ingredient

    ONE OF the active ingredients.

    The fallacy that THC is the only active ingredient of cannabis is what's lead to the prevalence of the high-THC rubbish which is predominant in the market these days. It's the modern day equivalent of the bathtub gin which caused so much damage during the US's prohibition years and the source of the relatively new phenomenon of 'cannabis psychosis'. Please don't perpetuate this myth.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: THC, the active ingredient

      Bathtub gin was pretty bad because it was crudely made, using whatever the maker could find at hand. Bathtub gin killed because it was contaminated with things like solvents and methanol, whereas I've yet to see a single death directly attributed to marijuana smoking.

      1. handleoclast

        Re: THC, the active ingredient

        Bathtub gin killed because it was contaminated with things like solvents and methanol

        It was mainly the methanol. All fermentation produces methanol as well as ethanol. It is not the methanol itself that is particularly toxic, it is the breakdown products when the body disposes of it. Too high a concentration of those breakdown products causes the problem. Fortuitously the same breakdown mechanisms tackle both methanol and ethanol, and the relative concentrations are such that dealing with the ethanol slows down the rate at which methanol is broken down, to the point where the body can deal with methanol's breakdown products fast enough that they don't cause problems.

        Those relative concentrations can change during distillation, because methanol boils off first. Do a good job (use a thermometer and discard the low boiling-temp fraction) and the resulting spirits have an even higher ethanol/methanol ratio. Do a sloppy job (where you don't bother bleeding off the methanol) and you leave the relative concentrations the same, as long as you dump the entire output into a single container before bottling and it's still safe (well, as safe as alcohol ever is).

        Do a really bad job, where you don't take steps to discard the methanol and where you put small bottles to the outlet, one at a time, and the first bottle can have a very high ratio of methanol to ethanol. Maybe the first few bottles. Or, if your still is big enough, the first dozen bottles. And that's where the problem lies. Some bottles in your run will be relatively lower in methanol than the feedstock and some will be higher.

        Note that it is illegal to distil alcohol unless you have the relevant licence, so don't try this at home. But if you do, make sure you do it right.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: THC, the active ingredient

          The amount of methanol produced by the distillation of grains, potatoes or sugars is in the ppm range and poses no danger at all.

          It was bootleggers adding wood alcohol (methanol) that caused the issue. Methanol is an optic nerve poison (hence being "blind drunk").

          Mixing sugar, yeast and water and drinking it wont poison you or make you blind.

          Nor will it make you blind after fermentation and distillation.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: THC, the active ingredient

        "Bathtub gin killed because it was contaminated with things like solvents and methanol"

        IIRC the main problem was neither; it was faulty distillation. There's a reason copper stills are used for strengthening alcohol mixtures. Bathtub gin makers were using anything they could get for condensers - often things like steel central heating radiators or industrial pipe - and the steel surface caused unpleasant by-products due to chemical reactions. Also, the distillate temperature range wasn't properly controlled. To get good quality ethanol you need to collect the product over a limited range of temperatures. Methanol boils at about 65C, ethanol at 78C. By not collecting the low boiling fraction, the methanol and acetaldehyde (boils around 20C) content can be greatly reduced. But bootleg distillers simply wanted maximum yield, or were totally ignorant of what they were doing.

        Concentrating alcohol by freezing is cheap but leaves in all the acetaldehyde and methanol, so is not a good idea.

        One of the best things about marijuana and, I am sure, why so much lobbying was put into making it illegal, is that its preparation is safe and simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: THC, the active ingredient

          With both it's the usage that is the problem.

        2. VictimMildew

          Re: THC, the active ingredient

          "...bootleg distillers simply wanted maximum yield, or were totally ignorant of what they were doing."

          The same would appear to be true of the people breeding new varieties of cannabis with high THC content, un-balanced by CBD content. THC is a psychotic; CBD an anti-psychotic. When their effects are balanced, cannabis is safe to ingest; when the effect of the THC predominates, it isn't.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: THC, the active ingredient

          a still does NOT strengthen alcohol.

          A still removes *pure alcohol from a dilute solution.

          It does NOT make the alcohol stronger.

          *96% maximum as you cannot remove the remaining 4% water without great effort.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: THC, the active ingredient

            It DOES SO strengthen alcohol as the process gives you a stronger (more concentrated) alcohol (which almost universally refers to the solution rather than the actual ethanol chemical) then you had when you started. That's why some distillers do it more than once: each time gets you a higher concentration.

            And yes, you can only distill to about 96% as you end up at what's called the azeotrope. Basically, the boiling point of 4% water is the same at that of 96% alcohol so you can't separate them that way anymore. It's relatively easy to obtain azeotropic alcohol. Getting pure 100% alcohol takes more complicated processes.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: THC, the active ingredient

              No it DOESNT.

              The alcohol is ALREADY there. Alcohol is alcohol. You don't get 20% alcohol. Or 50%. You get a MIX of water and alcohol.

              Look, if you have a 10 gallon fermented solution of water, sugar and yeast and its 10%abv and I remove HALF the water, the solution is now 50% abv.

              The alcohol hasn't changed AT ALL. Its no stronger.

              It isn't stronger, there is now just more of it BECAUSE THE WATER HAS BEEN REMOVED.

              So, just to reiterate, a still does NOT make alcohol more potent. End of.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: THC, the active ingredient

                It IS so stronger, as the alchohol normally refers to the SOLUTION, not the actual chemical which is scientifically termed ethanol, and solutions CAN get stronger.

                And yes, we normally refer to products by solution, not by chemical, which is why we normally buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and NOT H2O2 3% USP.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: THC, the active ingredient

                  Sigh.Ok, back to basics.

                  A bottle of 20% abv whisky contains 80% water and 20% ethanol.

                  If I take ALL the alcohol out I will have 2 solutions. 1 of 96% abv ethanol and another at 0% abv (the solutions are ethanol and water). If I then distill the remaining alcohol again, will it become stronger??

                  No it wont. AND THAT THERE is the proof that a still does NOT MAKE ALCOHOL MORE POTENT.

                  A still increases the AMOUNT of alcohol NOT its strength.

                  10 pints of 4% abv lager contains the SAME amount of alcohol as 1 pint of 40% abv spirit / rum / brandy / whisky. And If I distill them I will get the same result, I fail to see why you cannot grasp a simple fact.

                  Sorry but your knowledge of distillation is wrong. More worryingly, you cant seem to grasp a basic scientific fact.

                  Jesus Christ man, do some fucking research.

                  I've been doing it now for 20 years. How long have you been distilling?

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: THC, the active ingredient

                    OK, back to BASIC basics. Rememeber, ALWAYS think in terms of the Stupid User. HE IS NOT YOU.

                    "If I take ALL the alcohol out I will have 2 solutions. 1 of 96% abv ethanol and another at 0% abv (the solutions are ethanol and water). If I then distill the remaining alcohol again, will it become stronger??"

                    No, but that's because you've hit the azeotrope: IOW the exception to the rule. Meaning 96% alcohol boils at the same temperature as 4% water. Distillation only goes so far, which is why we learn of such things. Most things have their limit, but as long as you're not at the azeotrope, distillation WILL produce a stronger solution of ethanol.

                    "A still increases the AMOUNT of alcohol NOT its strength."

                    Increasing the amount of alcohol while reducing its volume (the remnant still in the original container), by definition, makes the solution more concentrated: IOW, STRONGER. A solution of 80% ethanol is by definition stronger than an equal solution of 40% alcohol. It's Chemistry 150 for goodness sakes (and I took it and passed with flying colors, thank you). If this ain't research, WHAT IS?!

                    "10 pints of 4% abv lager contains the SAME amount of alcohol as 1 pint of 40% abv spirit / rum / brandy / whisky."

                    But the former is more dilute, IOW, weaker. Same alcohol, but in a larger volume.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: THC, the active ingredient

                      You fail to distinguish between volume and concentration.

                      If I take 1 gallon of (for the sake of argument) of 100% pure alcohol, add it to 10 gallon of water and distil it, WHAT will be the strength of the distilled spirit?

                      It will OBVIOUSLY be 100%. So WHY do you insist a still makes booze stronger?

                      As I said, you fail at distilling science.

      3. VictimMildew

        Re: Bathtub gin

        Don't take that too literally. What I meant is that the appearance of a harmful form of a recreational substance, used safely for a very long time, is due to prohibition leading to lack of regulation and the surrendering of the market to criminal enterprise.

        No one's ever died from smoking cannabis* but people have had their heads screwed up by the psychotic effect of the THC-heavy varieties which have been bred over recent decades.

        * Not "marijuana". That's a name invented during Ansliger's "reefer madness" campaign, to make it sound like a foreign threat and to pander to the period's anti-Mexican prejudice.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nominative determinism?

    Unless I'm mistaken, Schüttenkopf translates as rubble-head...some reference to being stoned off one's bonce?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a disgrace in the season of good will, they should have donated it to the needy who can't afford quality weed at this time of year.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      the needy who can't afford quality weed

      Indeed yes, sir!

      As the words in the carol say "Ding dong merrily on high".

      I think we all know why Gloria is in excelsis.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: the needy who can't afford quality weed

        Well with all that weed going up in smoke it's a new take on the idea of the angels share...

  16. a_a

    "....in December last year"

    The lab boys have been testing it very thoroughly.

  17. Slickwilly

    Krauts - ok. But what do the Germans affectionately call the Brits?

    Inselaffen - island monkeys

    ;>)

  18. silks

    Unholy Smoke!

    Good to know how in the search for new power sources we're using weed to power Europe!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So is it the extra THC that kept me awake, and seeing sparkly crystalline patterns?

    Or was it polluted with chems to get you more offyerface?

    We need vintage suppliers of organic herb. VSOH.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

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