PRESS RELEASE OF TREKT UW PLANT
MAY 7 2008
In the past days, Trekt Uw Plant has again tried to obtain a clear answer on the question if the possession of cannabis for personal use in Belgium is allowed or not. Again, the authorities refuse to give this answer.
According to a ministerial guideline issued by the Belgian minister of Justice and the 5 Head Attorneys in January 2005, the registration by the authorities of the possession of an amount of cannabis for personal use (established at max. 3 grammes and one cannabisplant) by an adult, without the presence of aggravating circumstances or public disorder, will only lead to a Simplified Police Record (VPV). There will be no actions that lead to persecution and the cannabis will not be confiscated.
On Saturday May 3d, during the Worldwide Marijuana March on the Vrijdagmarkt in Antwerp, three board members of Trekt Uw Plant were arrested after they had planted a cannabis seed in a flower pot. After six hours in a police cell, they were informed that they would be accused of “growing drugs in the possible presence of minors”. There were some children on the Vrijdagmarkt indeed, yet at the moment the seed plant action took place, no minors were present. Besides, the cannabis seed itself is not a drug. A seed itself does not contain THC (active element of cannabis) nor is it sure that there will grow a THC containing plant out of it.
On Monday 5 May the president of Trekt Uw Plant, Philippe De Craene, planted again a cannabis seed in an empty ruin on the “Konijnenwei” in Antwerp, where there is no possibility to create public disorder and without the presence of minors. Again he was arrested, and released after two hours. The accusation will probably be “privatisation of the public space”. Before the action we had involved the ruin in white clothes, so that no minor could see what was going on inside. Apparently this act can be described as privatisation, which is forbidden by law.
Interesting detail is that one of the persons who attended the event was later searched by the police and appeared to have one gram of cannabis on him. When he refused to refrain from this, he was allowed to keep it. On the same place, possibly by the same police officer, the ministerial guideline was applied in one case, and in another not.
The actions of Trekt Uw Plant have shown that there is an enormous lack of legal security and judicial arbitrarity concerning cannabis in Belgium. That is something which many young people, especially from non-Western origin, are confronted with every day. But in principle this legal insecurity affects all cannabis consuming Belgians (between 300.000 and 500.000 people) and millions of Europeans….
Trekt Uw Plant does not let itself be scared by police operations that are steered from up above. Next year on the first saturday in May we will again organise a Marijuana March in Antwerp. Thanks to the support of many sympathisers the event of last saturday was, also without us, a big success. That the intervention of the police created an atmosphere in which cannabis was publically used, also in the presence of minors, is not our fault. We had done everything to avoid this.
Trekt Uw Plant maintains its objective. The association facilitates assistance to its members in growing their personal cannabisplant. The Antwerp judge declared on April 25 2007 that the right to associate is guaranteed by the Constitution, and that the existence of the association is legal. People can associate themselves anonymously, although we should be able to establish that they fulfill the rules. Members of Trekt Uw Plant have to be adult, live in Belgium, aware of the risks of cannabis use and must adress themselves voluntarily. Everybody who fulfills these conditions is wellcome.
After the events of 3 and 5 May we look forward with great confidence to the coming courtcase in appeal on June 12 in Antwerp. We have appealed against the fine of 15 euro that some of our members have been condemned to (the sanction of the other members has been suspended) for establishing a collective plantation on December 12 2006.
Our case has only become stronger. Also the judges of the Court of Appeal must have noticed that the non-application of the ministerial guideline concerning the possession of cannabis for personal use is violating the principle of legality. This principle states that if the individual citizen cannot consult a clear piece of legislation which describes his act as illegal, this act cannot be punished.
The final purpose of Trekt Uw Plant is to anchor the principle of the ministerial guieline, which is the respect for the cultivation of cannabis for personal use, in the Belgian legislation. This will create a legal alternative for 500.000 Belgians who regularly consume cannabis and who are now forced to smuggle the product into the Netherlands or to provide themselves at the illegal market. This illegal market does not apply public health norms or age limits.
Trekt Uw Plant wants to be a signal. A signal of respect for Mother Nature. Of resistance against them who use fear as a political weapon in order to safeguard economic and other interests. Of hope on a world in which democratic decisions are being respected by legal authorities.
Finally one thing: we need to conclude that indeed, the use of cannabis can truely lead to serious psychotic reactions, squizofrenia and loss of memory. But not in the user.
On behalf of Trekt Uw Plant
Philippe De Craene, Kris Verdonck and Joep Oomen
Lange Lozanastraat 14
Tel. +32 3 293 0886 / +32 495 122 644 (Joep) / +32 494 807 350 (Philippe) / +32 486 – 357595 (Kris)Republish