ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
2013, DRUG REGULATION YEAR ONE
Last year, ENCOD was among those organisations fighting to make sure that the Civil Society Forum on drug policies in the EU would not turn out as a complete fiasco. Even though we decided to break the consensus on the final recommandations to the EU commission, we joined an annex letter supporting steps toward a more balanced approach with harm reduction measures and scientific evidence based drug policy.
Inside the EU CSF, we are seen as the “pain in the ass”, as a resuklt of our efforts to ensure that the voices of the voiceless can be heard and represented, while ensuring that all useful information from all those meetings is provided to to people organized at grassroots levels. Every single citizen, even civil servants, should well recognise what ENCOD stands for, by reading its “Code of conduct“. Lack of transparency is weakening democratic rules.
Last year, ENCOD was also among those NGOs attending the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, including the debates and buffets in corridors, and as always at this high level meeting we played the role of “stone in the shoe”. By highjacking civil society sessions with inputs presenting “Cannabis Social Clubs” and other alternative models such as “Friends of the Coca Leaf”, by asking questions about the current scheduling of cannabis which needs to be reviewed, or urging Yuri Fedotov during his press conference to answer questions like: “is he willing to push Russia for a humane approach on drugs with harm reduction programs?” “Are some US states which have implemented laws for medicinal use of cannabis breaking UN conventions?” And finally: “Will the INCB urge the USA to stop undermining the implementation of the UN conventions, like they did against the coffeeshops in Netherlands?”
In April 2012, for the first time during an official meeting, the US president listened to his colleagues from Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Mexico who wanted him to consider that the drug war has failed and that a different policy has to be designed. Even if Obama declined to talk about legalisation, he declared that the debate was now open.
While everybody heard about the Netherlands’ stepping backward, by implementing a so-called “weed pass”, this also led to a strong movement opposing this and other measures, with some key cities’ mayors stating they will still allow tourists in coffeeshops.
This civil disobedience state of mind is also very high in France, with a Cannabis Social Clubs movement launched last June, and gaining more and more support and media coverage. Since the election of president Hollande in May, never before has cannabis legalisation and the establishment of injection rooms been so prominent in the public debate.
Last October, in the Strasbourg European Parliament, the importance of cannabis for the pharmaceutical industry was exposed and for the first time large numbers of scientific and health researchers gave an overview of the challenges for laboratories around the world for healing patients with cannabis … even if growing one or many plants can directly and without financial boundaries help people who use cannabis as a medecine.
At the same time, at grassroots levels videos like “If cannabis cured cancer?”, “Too high to fail”, “When we grow”, and last but not least “Breaking the taboo” have been broadcast, freely available for anyone on the internet.
But the sky isn’t nice and blue for all. We believe that those who are deprived of it are Drug War prisoners, like Michael Blanc in Indonesia, Dana Beal, Marc Emery, Chris Williams, Eddie Lepp, Rev. Roger and so many inmates behind US bars, Roar Mikalsen in Norway. We remember them, they miss us and we are still urging all authorities concerned for their immediate release.
In this worldwide turmoil HSBC bank announced they negociated a 1.9 billion dollars fine in order to avoid trial in the US for money laundering, for large scale money laundering for drug cartels. Does everybody know that this bank, which is mainly run from Hong Kong, was established there in 1865 in order to finance trade in the Far East and was originally associated with profits from opium smuggling?
That in a way is the proof of the corrupted global economic system. Definitely “prohibition is a joke” played by “bangsters” or “gankers” something between gangsters and bankers. Then, “legalisation” (or legal regulation for those like Barack Obama who dare not to pronounce it) is the only word that can be used to cut the herb under the foot of all those narcodealers taking benefits from prohibition fuelled by taxpayers’ money.
May 2013 be the first year of new local regulation measures based on a humane and scientific approach!
ENCOD will keep its goals high and loud, with our Manifesto for Just and Effective Drug Policies, supported by more than 350 organisations worldwide, which in itself could represent an alternative or genuine international civil society forum.
In 2013, may the strenghth of all different networks involved in the drug policy reform movement (as TNI, IDPC, DPA, ICOS, LEAP, NORML, Beckley, Akzept, HCLU etcetera) be able to achieve concrete results such as the “Breaking the Taboo” campaign, by joining or merging their efforts!
ENCOD will work hard and smartly with this aim in the following months, simply because “united we stand, divided we fall”.
By Farid Ghéhiouèche (with the help of Peter Webster)
This bulletin has been written on personal title and does not count with the approval of all Steering Committee members.
Events in February
Visitors at Spannabis, Barcelona – 15 to 17 February 2013, are wellcome to visit the ENCOD stand (nr. 135)