ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
NR. 44 OCTOBER 2008
Autumn has begun. Harvest time, at least in Europe. We wish everybody the best of luck and success. Autumn is also the time to take precautions for the cold winter, to secure yourself a warm place despite all adversities. To secure yourself a warm place while warm places are threatened, among other places in Holland, where the days of the coffeeshops seem to be counted. We inform how ENCOD supports the local resistance. Despite the stormy weather we will try to bring the harvest in in Switzerland. Here, on 30 November there will be a national vote about a referendum on a new law on psychoactive substances, on an initiative to legalize hemp and, on the other hand, a complete ban. Some perhaps will serve as an example for Europe?
On 6 and 7 September a meeting of the ENCOD Steering Committee took place in Amsterdam. Here we decided to support the activities in the Netherlands against the new hard line of government. As well the priorities for the near future were defined: the participation of drug user organisations of drug consumers in drug polciy design in Europe, the UN drug conference in Vienna next spring and the publicity for the Cannabis Social Club model. Also various internal reorganizations have started.
Several Dutch cannabis and hemp enterprises and organisations will carry out a series of events from 24 November to 4 December in Amsterdam and the Hague. The goal is it to direct the national attention on the failure of the current Dutch state to establish a rational policy on cannabis and hemp. Encod in the person of Joep Oomen will help to organize a public tribunal in The Hague on 1 and 2 December. Others will organize demonstrations and a Film festival in Amsterdam.
On 30 November two national votes on the drug issues will take place in Switzerland: one vote is on the new drug law, the other on a people’s initiative that is trying to obtain the majority for the legalization of
hemp to be recognised on Swiss constitutional level.
After the failure of a proposal to revise the drug law that did not pass through both chambers of parliament a few years ago, a new proposal has been prepared, which has been agreed upon by both chambers. It is based above all on the 4-pillar principle (prevention, treatment, harm reduction, repression), including among others the controlled distribution of heroin.
The Swiss Democratic Union (EDU) has collected the signatures for a referendum against this. Primarily the heroin distribution is a thorn in the eye of the EDU. Abstinence and repression is the correct solution for this party!
A further element in this proposal of a revised law is a reason for others to vote in favour of this referendum: the revision contains also a ban on the hemp plant, which until now has not been forbidden in Switzerland, only its psychoactive or medicinal use has.
Also concerning the heroin distribution one can think of better solutions than the one which is practised at the moment. People can only participate in these programmes if they are very ill and have shown no success in their withdrawal treatments. Whether it makes sense to let the people consume black market adulterated heroin for many years and only help them if they suffer from lasting physical damage, is also disputable.
Further information on this proposal can be found at www.admin.ch.
Switzerland: hope for cannabis?
The People’s Initiative „Protecting the Youth – against drugs crime“ contains the following:
The Federal Constitution will be changed as follows: new article 105a – Hemp
1. The consumption of psychoactive substances of the hemp plant as well as the possession and purchase for personal use are not penalised.
2. The cultivation of psychoactive hemp for personal use is not penalised.
3. The Federal State issues regulations on the cultivation, manufacturing, im- and export as well as commercialisation of psychoactive substances of the hemp plant.
4. The Federal State ensures with appropiate measures that the protection of youth is taken duely into account. Advertisement for psychoactive substances as well as for ways how to deal with these substances is strictly forbidden.
When the majority of citizens and federal states approve this proposal, then it will become part of the Swiss Constitution. What is interesting is that many politicians, also from conservative parties, have spoken in favour of the proposal.
The initiative establishes order, makes an end to legal insecurity, sets clear objectives and facilitates preventive action and early intervention!
The initiative allows for controlled cultivation with information on quality and origin, for example on the farmers, as well as controlled commercialisation through regulated points of sale!!
The initiative will lead to meaningful investment in prevention, instead of making billions of Swiss francs disappear into the black market each year and depriving the state of hundreds of millions in taxes.
More information can be obtained at the Initiative Committee.
This proposal is an example for the whole of Europe, as it shows how the current situation on hemp can be changed in a meaningful and desirable way with constructive solutions.
This proposal with its arguments could also serve as a proposal for a petition or a proposed law that ENCOD and its members could launch in different European countries.
In relation with this referendum, the excellent work of the Swiss Federal Commission on Drug Issues (EKDF), that has proposed after years of preparations, a new model for drug policy, away from drug prohibition and towards a policy on psychoactive substances.
Information on this in various languages can be found on www.psychoaktiv.ch.
By: André FürstRepublish