ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS
A few months after ENCOD presented its Plan for the Green Revolution, we are ready to step out of the shadows. The international trend of reforming drug policies has started and is irreversible. Uruguay, Washington and Colorado are just the tip of the iceberg. In Europe the Cannabis Social Club Model is about to overflow one country after the other. People are tired of waiting for politicians to bring change, so they take the reins themselves. Due to this international progress we are about to bind our strength and move towards new approaches.
The next important steps on the stairway to legalisation are the annual Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the UN, which is traditionally held in Vienna in March, and the elections for the European Parliament.
Our struggle has entered a crucial phase. Recently various regions and countries all over the world have started to implement alternatives for drug prohibition. Change is in the air. But what will future drug policies look like? Will they take into account the interests of ordinary citizens?
The United Nations have announced a special session of the UN General Assembly in 2016 where alternatives to current drug policies will be on the agenda. In the coming years, the public pressure on the debate within the UN should increase. Encod plans to organize a public event outside the UN building in Vienna, during the next CND meeting in March, 2014.
In May 2014, elections will take place for the new European Parliament. As public interest for these elections tends to be modest, this is an interesting opportunity for the movement for drug policy reform to mobilize people to vote for reform-friendly candidates. In the coming months Encod will identify those parties and candidates who declare themselves in favor of ending the drug war. In december 2013, we plan an event in the European Parliament to prepare the following steps.
To be able to carry out these campaigns, we need to increase our member- and sponsorship. Encod worked out concepts which will be presented on the upcoming hemp fairs taking place in the fall. The next opportunity will be the CULTIVA Hempexpo 2013 in Vienna
Between 18th and 20th of October the Austrian Hemp Fair – CULTIVA – will open its doors again. More than 100 exhibitors will present the latest trends in the hemp market. The botanical garden in the unique 42m high and 8000m2 glass pyramid at Vienna provides the perfect setting for that – as well as in previous years.
In addition to the expo there will be many lectures in numerous topics with international speakers in the course of the Cultiva Hemp Congress again.
Hemp in the medicine, hemp as raw material, hemp as food are just a few examples as well as the aspects of hemp and its right. ENCOD also participates in the congress by presenting the CSC model. David Rosse, from ENCOD Austria, is going to speak about advocacy in change, on Cannabis Social Clubs and the Austrian law. You can find the complete congress timetable on: [http://www.cultiva.at/index.php/en/congress
Apart from the stand in the fair, ENCOD will install a bungalow where we will present our concepts for new action and lobby campaigns. Our partners, interested citizens, organizations and companies are welcome to join us.
The fact that hemp is not only a valuable but also a delicious food will be demonstrated by masterchefs at the Cultiva Cooking Show. During the fair numerous DJjs will pamper with laid-back music. At evenings all these impressions can be ventilated into a relaxed atmosphere at the campfire, so Cultiva 2013 will be a feast for the senses again.
Cultiva has a motto this year: „The Balkan Connection” – since Croatia’s EU membership represents an interesting new market and the free movement of goods in the hemp industry too. That’s the reason why Cultiva invited all relevant shops from Croatia to present themselves on the fair. The Balkan spirit will be evolved not only by famous DJs but also through live concerts: Balkan Tango Vibes and Deladap will perform in the tents, so even the weather conditions will not matter.
Also politically there is an interesting new situation in Austria now. Since the elections for the new Parliament on September 29th, there are 2 completely new political parties in Austria`s parliament. The interesting point is that both parties are open for new approaches on the issue of cannabis.
One of them is the „Team Stronach“ and the other, most surprising party, are the „NEOS“ which grew out of the „Liberals“ and people from other political parties. Founded one year ago, no one expected that the „NEOS“ and „Team Stronach“ would enter the Parliament already in this election.
It seems like the government will be formed by the two main parties once again. The Social democrats and the Conservatives. Both of them had the worst result in their history, but it is still enough to build a coalition.
We can not say what impact the two new parties will have on the government yet, but it is a good signal and we are looking forward to have two new innovative partners to work with in the parliament. A detailed overview on the Austrian elections and the consequences for drug policy will follow on hanfverband.at
See you soon at Cultiva in Vienna!
by David Rosse