Press statement by Lukas Hurysek from Magazine Legalizace regarding crackdown on grow shops all around the Czech Republic.
5 November 2013
Police in Prague and other parts of the Czech Republic have conducted raids on 50 growshops throughout the eastern european country. According to a brief english-language report, a spokesperson for the authorities confirmed on on Czech Radio that police were confiscating indoor grow products, including lights and fertilizer.
The spokesperson also stated that the operation had been in planning for several months, although the timing is conspicuous for it’s proximity to Cannafest, one of Europe’s largest marijuana gatherings, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow (Wednesday) in Prague.
Lukas Behal from Cannafest says that he spoke to police and what is happening should NOT affect the show at all.
The Czech Republic has become one of Europe’s strongest bastions in the battle for marijuana rights in recent years, with cannabis-friendly Prague often called the “Amsterdam of the East.” Cannafest has become a major stop on the calendar of marijuana professionals, on par with events like High Times Cannabis Cup and Spannabis in Barcelona. Prague was also the location for the Million Marijuana March, which brought advocation for legalization to the streets of the beautiful city just this spring.
This, of course, has had the effect of hundreds of growshops popping up throughout the country. However, a Supreme Court ruling stated that these shops may not offer a “seed to joint” line of products. Initial reports are that police are using this caveat as the mandate to perform the current shutdown of growshops and seizure of inventory.
Shop operators have also been charged with crimes, were of marijuana distribution, for allegedly promoting drug offenses. Moreover, owners have been threatened a fine of 50,000 crowns (2,000 EUR).
Press statement by Lukas Hurysek from Magazine Legalizace regarding crackdown on grow shops all around the Czech Republic:
The current head of our “drug enforcement agency” was loudly voicing his plan to fight all growshops. His name is Jakub Frydrych and he is Anslinger-type of person, doesnt have qualification or proper education in drug policies, but is more a hit-hard prohibitionist police officer.
He was encouraged a few months ago by a supreme court ruling in one case saying that gshops cant sell growing equipment + books about growing + seeds because it qualifies for “spreading drug abuse” (we have a pretty special word in Czech – toxikomanie), so all the gshops had to split into three or stop selling some of these items.
I think that more than 90 % of gshops complied with that, although everybody knew its just abuse from the police and it does not really make any sense. In the meantime Frydrych and his friends tried to accuse one magazine and journalist for spreading this toxikomanie because they had papers and filters in one issue and there was one distorted pic inside and under that was written: “if you want to see it properly, you should smoke a joint.” — it was just a joke, but they tried to start a prosecution and trial with punishment up to 5 years in prison.
However a few weeks ago the justice office (I dont know actually who was it) said that this is not a case and refused to start any prosecution. And well, it seems that Frydrych is still very persistent and today started closing all gshops in spite of the fact that, as I said, almost all of them did everything they should according to the last ruling of the supreme court…
Its opposite trend as in the rest of civilized world, because this guy is a very stupid person.
In my opinion the police will definitely lose this in court, because they would have to close every gardening shop selling soil and fertilizers and shops with electrical supplies applying this logic, BUT – it just happens 4 days before Cannafest and it will have a huge impact on attendance, atmosphere and all Czech gshops that wanted to exhibit there and also even if the trial is won, it might take a year or longer before they get their stuff back, which means the police is effectively killing all the small businesses now…
To summarize: All the grow shops in the Czech Republic were normally opened on Monday morning (I don’t know how many are here exactly, it is definitely more than 100 and less than 200), but today the fifty already raided are closed and the police announced yesterday evening that they are going to „visit“ all Prague’s gshops today (30-50 shops)…
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