PRESS RELEASE TREKT UW PLANT
6 February 2009
Today the local court of Antwerp, Belgium, sentenced the president of the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant, Philippe De Craene, to a fine and social labour for “apology to drug use”. The Club itself is not dissolved.
The case referred to the events at the Million Marijuana March on 3 May 2008 when the three Board members of Trekt uw Plant each planted a seed for their personal plant in a pot. They based this action on the legal margin created by the ministerial guideline of January 2005 according to which the possession of max. 3 grammes or 1 cannabisplant by an adult person is no longer persecuted. With this guideline, the Belgian State has expressed the message that cannabis consumption should be approached with public health measures and not with criminal justice.
Immune for signals from society
Trekt Uw Plant does not accept this verdict and will appeal it. The Antwerp legal authorities ignore herewith a political decision that was taken democratically after 8 years of debate and research. Likewise this verdict shows that the legal apparatus has become immune for signals from society that show cannabis consumption is a daily phenomenon. With cannabis, thousands of people in Belgium can improve their life quality. There are doctors who prescribe cannabis as a remedy against chronic pains. Afterwards, the patient is obliged to provide him/herself through llegal channels.
This verdict implies that doctors, journalists, scientists and politicians who question cannabis prohibition, now run the risk of being persecuted. The publication of this press release should occur entirely on own risk.
Since 2006, Trekt Uw Plant has proposed a definitive legal regulation for (collective) cultivation of cannabis for personal use, as alternative for the illegal market. The aim of these actions has been to carry out a dialogue with the authorities, but we have received summons instead. It is ironic that exactly our president, Philippe De Craene, has been sentenced hardest. De Craene has been active for many years, among others within the Homeless Action Comittee, for the reduction of drug related harms in Antwerpen.
Trekt uw Plant will continue. In the coming months we will make concrete preparations for a collective plantation, based on the principle 1 plant per member. The goal of that plantation is to avoid problems in society. Cultivation of cannabis for personal use makes an end to drug tourism, illegal street trade, public health risks by adulteration of the product, while the accessibility of the product for minors and people with certain psychological diseases will diminish. This model also offers a solution for people who use cannabis for medicinal reasons, for whom it is no luxury, but a necessity to live well.
Contrary to our earlier plantations, we will not announce our grow activities publically anymore. We hope for your understanding.
Interview with Trekt Uw Plant [Radio Centraal