Legislation on consumption and possession of drugs
Drug consumption is considered an offence only if it takes place in a group. According to a ministerial guideline of January 2005, possession of cannabis for personal use is depenalised. This means: if you are above 18, and have less than 3 grammes or one plant on you, and if you are not causing public nuisance according to the police officer or the judge, you will not be persecuted. If you are under 18, if you have more than 3 grammes, if you are involved in public nuisance, if there are aggravating circumstances or if you are stopped by police at the border, you may have a problem. Punishment is with fines or prison in case of aggravating circumstances.
Cannabis Social Clubs
Based on the example of Trekt Uw Plant, Belgium’s first Cannabis Social Club that was founded in 2006, 4 other CSC’s have now established a collective plantation for the personal use of their members. TUP was acquitted in two court cases that were opened by Antwerp prosecutors (one on the accusation of “criminal association” and the other on “incitement to drug use”). In December 2013, the Mambo Social Club in Hasselt suffered a police action, in which more than 1 kilo of cannabis and 27 plants were confiscated. The courtcase against MSC is likely to become the definitive testcase for the CSC model in Belgium.
There are no officially tolerated user rooms in Belgium. In Liege, a scientific experiment took place with the medical distribution of heroin to long term users, but this experiment stopped in 2013.
Main political parties for the European Elections
- CD&V / CDH (Christian Democrats > European People’s Party)
- VLD / MR (Liberal Party > Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)
- Sp.a / PS (Labour Party > Party of European Socialists)
- Groen! / ECOLO (Green Party > European Green Party)
- NVA (Separatist party – European Free Alliance)
- Vlaams belang (Extreme Right – European Independent Fraction)
What is the position of these parties on: Drug Policy Reform / Harm Reduction, health-based approach on drugs / Decriminalisation of cannabis and/or other drugs / Cannabis Social Clubs
No political party in Belgium expresses a clear opinion on drug policy, except the president of the NVA (Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie – separatist party from Flanders), and mayor of Antwerpen, Bart de Wever, who delivers old fashioned ‘War on Drugs’ propaganda and has converted it into one of his most important electoral trump cards. As NVA’s popularity is on the rise, most other politicians do not dare to reply, which has meant that the slight progress that was noted in Belgian drug policy until 2005 has come to a standstill.
What are the two most important threats on the political and legal front?
A victory of CD&V and NVA in the national elections in May 2014. If the political spectrum turns to the right drug policy reform is unlikely to continue. If it stays in the middle or turns left, reform will be allowed to progress, although always slowly.
A hard sentence for Mambo Social Club – and as a consequence persecution for the other Belgian CSC’s as well.
What is the most promising or positive development concerning drug policy?
There is a growing acceptance of cannabis consumption and home cultivation in the population. In the autumn of 2013, Belgian TV had a very popular weekly TV series on a peasant’s family who changed from potatoes to weed. As a result, people who do not smoke cannabis are getting familiar with the World of cannabis cultivation, and prejudices and stigmas disappear slowly but surely.
Encod contact in Belgium
Joep Oomen (TUP): firstname.lastname@example.orgRepublish