PRESS RELEASE OF TREKT UW PLANT
On Thursday June 12th, 2008 , the case in appeal against the conviction of the Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant and 5 of its members because of possessing 1 cannabisplant per person has taken a strange direction.
The Prosecutors Office has requested the Court of Appeal to acquit us because of the fact that too much time has passed since the date of the facts (12 december 2006). According to the prosecutor we can only be accused of growing cannabis for personal use, which is not considered a crime but an offense, which can only be punished by socalled police convictions (fines or community work) and because this offense has been committed more than 1,5 years ago he requests to acquit us.
This seems to be a childish trick in order not to have to deal with the principle matter: the Prosecutors Office itself had requested in January 2008 to postpone the case until June, possibly in order to be able to request acquittance and in this way dismiss the case.
But in fact it means that the possession of 1 plant by adult citizens is tolerated also by the highest echelons of the legal system..
On June 26th we will have the final sentence, but due to the fact that the court of appeal has not even heard our defense lawyer (who made his extensive preparation – referring to the legality principle included in the European Convention on Human Rights – for nothing) it is quite sure that we will be acquitted.
The next step is to find out what this means concretely for our club.
What is this all aboiut?
The local court of Antwerpen judged on April 25th, 2007, that the association and its members were guilty of posessiing, manufacturing, selling or purchasing cannabis. On December 12th, 2006, the members of the association had presented a collective cannabis plantation, which had subsequently been confiscated by the police. In this operation, one mother plant and 5 clones had been found, none of them ready to be harvested. Legally spoken, no cannabis had been present.
The objective of Trekt Uw Plant’s plantation was to make a concrete use of the possibility created by the Belgian legislation to produce cannabis for personal use. In January 2005, a ministerial guideline has been established, according to which the possession of max. 3 grammes cannabis and 1 plant is no longer persecuted.
To grow cannabis by oneself or in association for personal use (without any form of trade taking place) is currently the only way to obtain cannabis within the margins of the law. Trekt Uw Plant wants to show this with her actions, and this is being undermined by the actions of the legal authorities and the sentence of the local court of Antwerp.
Therefore the process against Trekt Uw Plant has a political character. As a matter of fact, the state of law is at stake here. The persecution and conviction of Trekt Uw Plant is in fact a conviction of the ministerial guideline of 2005, that came about after 8 years of political debate. The parliament had finally agreed about the need to depenalise the cultivation of cannabis for own use. By ignoring that political agreement, the legal authorities puts the parliament in offside position. The only ones who proifit from that are the criminal organisations. In this way one of their most important competitors on the cannabis market is being eliminated.
In the past months, we have seen the consequences of the lack of regulation of the cannabis market. An unlimited repression against cannabis growers and users pushes the market more and motre in the direction of criminal organisations, which do not care at all about age limits, quality control, health or safety norms. Thus, adulterating cannabis with damaging products like glass, paint, sand etc. is a typical habit of these organisations.
Trekt Uw Plant operates through the principle of a so-called Cannabis
Social Club, in which the members organise the cultivation of their cannabis for personal use, without any form of trade taking place. The concept of these Cannabis Social Clubs already functions for several years in Spain, where this is tolerated by the authorities.
Not by coincidence, Spain and the Netherlands (with its system of coffeeshops that has existed for over 30 years) is the only European country where there are hardly any signs of adulterated cannabis on the market. By tolerating the cultivation for personal use, this risk is being minimalised.
TREKT UW PLANT
Philippe Decraene / Joep Oomen /Kris Verdonck
Lange Lozanastraat 14
Tel. +32 3 293 0886 / +32 495 122 644 (Joep) / 0494 807 350 (Philippe)