ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
The Colorado monetary beetle
One of the most infamous episodes of the Cold War ocurred in the 1950-ies and early 1960-ies, when Western planes systematically dropped Colorado Potato Beetles in Eastern Europe to deliberately destroy the potato harvest. It was later recognized as a big mistake and with suicidal consequences. One windy day in March a full cargo of Beetles flew not towards the east, to Yugoslavia but to Italy infecting all the fields west from the border to the outskirts of the Po river valley.
Public disgrace and pressure caused this kind of CIA signed operations to come to an end.
These days another kind of beetle is coming from Colorado, this time in the form of the cannabis ’monetary’ virus. More than a model for regulation and liberalization of cannabis for all purposes Colorado is creating business agenda that is mounting the pressure to regulate cannabis as a medicine. In this agenda, the rich will become richer and the poor will stay poor. The Colorado cannabis trade is a business of the white population, while minorities are still on the margin and prosecuted as usual. The prison industry needs to operate.
It is a fact that the new breed of medical cannabis business entrepreneurs know very well that the main ingredients in cannabis as a medicine is CBD. And one must not be a rocket scientist to figure out that in several European countries the pivotal moment has already been reached by new laws which allow industrial cannabis or hemp to be grown. Now it is ’monetary’ time. A brand new group of entrepreneurs are trying to sell cannabis oil made from hemp as the new wonder medicine. They hope to be the first to profit from poltical developments, now that several parties, such as for instance ZL (United Left) in Slovenia, have declared that “first will they present a new law proposal to regulate cannabis as a medicine and later as an recreational plant”.
What an utter mistake. We need to know history well to understand its lessons. Whenever in the past 110 years a traditional ethnological plant was declared as medicine the general population lost access to it. The values of cannabis could indeed be considered as medicinal but the plant has more omnipotent properties: it is a healing remedy for body and soul. Cannabis is a spiritual as well as a traditional medicine. Therefore it is important to distinguish the movement for “medicinal cannabis” from the movement for the Freedom to farm.
The Freedom to Farm movement is oriented towards the liberation of cannabis as a holistic plant; not just as a medicine. In our world, the term medicine implies that the product has to have passed the hands of the medical pharmaceutical establishment, which is based on profit making. As a consequence, on this moment in time, we are sliding on a thin razor blade: somebody could get cut. I hope that the activist approach will endure the battering ram of capitalist entrepreneurship which is trying to enslave cannabis once again.
The wind is spreading the cannabis ‘monetary beetle’ even to bastions of the Cannabis Social Club discourse in Spain. More and more groups are spreading their wings demanding a piece of the cake and declaring themselves as social clubs. But the cake is not so big as one could imagine: it requires a whole lot of courage and activist work to form a true CSC. Being a Cannabis Social Club is not the same as declaring to be one.
Money is not what counts in the real CSC world. Most important is the plant and the members who support the agenda to liberate it. Real Cannabis Social Clubs provide cannabis to their members in a closed circuit. Some of the new style CSC’s in Spain carry the clear seal of a coffeeshop – they sell cannabis to one-day members who pay an ‘extra’ membership card but are not involved in the fight for the Freedom to Farm..
The CSC principles are clear: supply of the plants follows the demand and not vice versa, the decision making structure is democratic and transparent, no selling to non-members and support to the campaign for the Freedom to Farm.
Back to the story: in the 1960-ies the Colorado Beetle operation was still considered as a success in the imperialist west. Tito’s Yugoslavia was obliged to import a few full loaded freight trains of DDT produced in the capitalist world. Nobody asked how the whole operation affected residents and nature in the Balkan countries: after all, money is what counts, not people nor plants.
By Janko Belin
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