European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies
Haantjeslei 213 – 2018 Antwerpen – Belgium
Mob. + 32 (0)495 122644
E-mail: email@example.com / encod.org
Antwerpen, 7 April 2013
Herewith we present you the annual report on the year 2013 of the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies.
Apart from a summary of the main activities that Encod carried out in 2013, you can read how Encod collected and spent its money.
Since 1993, Encod is a network of European organisations and individual citizens who wish to speak out and act against the policy of drug prohibition, and believe in a bottom up strategy to change it.
This means Encod is active on various fronts: we carry out lobby efforts on meetings on drug policy in the UN and try to encourage the drug debate within the EU institutions, but we also promote direct action through the establishment of Cannabis Social Clubs or campaigns to bring the coca leaf to Europe.
We maintain a multilingual website with news and analysis on the development of drug policies in Europe and the world, and we play a supporting role in the coordination of drug policy activism in various European countries.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
On behalf of the ENCOD Steering Committee,
In 2013, Encod had 153 members. Currently (10.04.2014) there are 169 members (see annex 1).
Members can be divided in organisations of consumers of cannabis and/or other drugs (40), companies and/or shops (28), organisations involved in local drug policy reform work (18), media (9), organisations working on harm reduction (6) as well as individual members.
The decision-making body in Encod is the Annual General Assembly of Members. Here the activities of the organization are evaluated and the global guidelines for the action plan are approved for the coming year.
From 21 to 23 June 2013, the Annual General Assembly took place in Bermeo, Spain, attended by 32 members. On this GA, the action plan for 2013 – 2014 was approved.
Responsible for Encods action plan and the supervision of the secretariat is the Steering Committee. The SC consists currently of Enrico Fletzer (Italy), Derrick Bergman and Has Cornelissen (Netherlands), as well as Janko Belin (Slovenia). David Rosse (Austria) formed part of the SC until December 2013. The SC holds meetings through skype at least twice a month.
The secretariat (which carries out the daily activities) is run by a half time paid coordinator (Joep Oomen) with the help of approx. 10 voluntaries from around Europe who mostly translate articles for the website and support the organization of public events.
At the GA in Bermeo we decided to introduce a new element in the decision-making structure, which is the Inner Circle, formed by approx. 25 members ( 2/3 members per country). Inner Circle members are responsible for feeding the Encod SC with information on that country. They can also be considered as contact person for Encod. The Inner Circle members receive the reports of the SC meetings and thus stay informed about the daily functioning of the organization.
The members of the Inner Circle and other members participate in ad hoc working groups created around certain issues, such as the Encod presence at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the elections for the European parliament.
– United Nations
The year 2013 may well be considered a crucial year for worldwide drug policy reform, with astonishing developments in the US (legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes in the states of Colorado and Washington) and Uruguay (legalization of distribution of cannabis through pharmacies, cannabis social clubs and self-cultivation)
From 11 to 15 March, a delegation of 4 Encod Members (Enrico Fletzer, Farid Ghehioueche, Frantisek Pisarik and Fredrick Polak) participated in the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Meeting in Vienna. Read their report here.
Also in Morocco, things start to move. Among others Chakib El Khayari, long term activist for hemp legalisation in Morocco approached us for advise on a law proposal he successfully elaborated for various political parties. As a result, one of these parties organised a hearing in the Moroccan Parliament, where Encod was represented by André Fuerst.
– European Union
In March we received the message that we were no longer part of the EU Civil Society Forum, as we had not sent in our application on time. The advantage was that this decision helped to end a long polemic in the organisation about whether or not it was useful to participate in the CSF.
We then decided to spend one day of the General Assembly to the issue of what would be our next step at EU level. We decided to focus on the elections for the European parliament in May 2014 – highlighting the Catania report of 2004, whose recommendations have never been implemented.
On 6 December we held a meeting partly in Brussels and partly in Antwerp. Here a manifest for safe and healthy drug policies was approved which will be offered to candidates for the EP elections that will take place in May 2014.
– Cannabis Social Clubs
Encod promotes the Cannabis Social Club model throughout Europe. At the General Assembly in Bermeo we reached an agreement about a set of principles that can be considered as a basis for setting up a CSC.
Flyers on how to set up a CSC in English, French, German, Italian and Slovenian were distributed.
in Slovenia, one CSC was set up (CSC Maribor)
in France, the CSC model was embraced by activists some of whom deposited the statutes of their organisation, in order to challenge legal authorities. One of them was prosecuted and lost the courtcase, though no-one was sent to jail. Other CSCs continue underground until the legal margin will be created.
in Italy, several preparations are taking place to set up one or more Cannabis Social Clubs for medical users only. More progress is to be expected in the spring of 2014.
in The Netherlands, various initiatives to establish a ‘Cannabis Social Club’ popped up in 2013. One even obtained the collaboration of the municipality of Utrecht which has embraced the project as a tool to challenge the repressive line of Dutch national minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten. The club has presented an official application for permission to grow from the Dutch Ministry of Health.
in Germany Encod participated in a workshop on how to set up a CSC, and delivered a speech on the annual hemp demo in Berlin, Hanfparade calling for activists to become involved in an effort to create CSC’s. The German Hemp Association (Deutsche Hanf Verein) started a petition campaign to request local authorities to start discussing the possibility of allowing a CSC. More progress is to be expected in 2014.
in Belgium, the CSC Trekt uw Plant – hosted at Encods secretariat – grew from 130 to almost 300 members (divided in 2 regional sections). During the year 4 other CSC’s were founded in Belgium. They all adhered to Encod and suscribed to the CSC Code of Conduct. Just before Christmas one of these clubs – Mambo Social Club in Hasselt – was raided by police. The prosecutor still has to formulate the accusation. Mambo counts on an acquittance, just has been the case earlier with Trekt uw Plant.
in the Czech Republic and Poland, similar initiatives are underway, while in the UK, people have launched virtual CSC’s on Facebook, in order to promote debate.
in Spain, the CSC movement is undoubtedly the largest of Europe. Hundreds of clubs have been set up in the past years. The original concept of the CSC’s here is somewhat under pressure, as some people make use of the legal margin that has been created by the clubs to set up an operation which is essentially run like an enterprise. This is all due to the fact that no definitive regulation has yet been elaborated, so people are working in a grey zone. The regions which seem to be closest to the approval of such a regulation in parliament is Catalonia and the Basque Country. Hopefully, this regulation will be adopted soon and may lead to similar legislative initiatives in other regions.
– Fair trade with coca leaf products
The Encod coordinator serves as a board member of the association ‘Friends of the Coca Leaf’, whose goal is to import coca leaves legally into Europe. This import (based on a fair trade scheme with packages of organically grown coca leaves) took place from May to September 2012, but was then stopped by the Bolivian Post Office. In March 2013 the association carried out a mission to Bolivia to lobby on members of the Bolivian government and parliament in order to reestablish the permission to send packages. The lobby succeeded, the sending was renewed but one month later, stopped again.
– General campaign activities
Throughout the year Encod participated in the Hemp Fairs of Barcelona (Spannabis), Irun (Expo Grow), Vienna (Cultiva), Prague (Cannafest) and Amsterdam (High Times Cannabis Cup), with speeches, workshops and a stand with propaganda material. We also carried out some fundraising, using a new style in the communication and introducing a new concept of Red and Golden members.
The website was modernised, leading to an increase in daily visits from 1500 to 2000 a day. During the year, approx. 500 articles were published.
The monthly bulletin on European drug policy was produced in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Czech, Italian, and German.
In 2013, ENCOD representatives took part in several meetings and conferences, among others in Italy (Coordination meeting of Italian CSC’s, Pisa and Million Marijuana March, Rome), France (Cannabis Sans Frontières, Paris), Germany (Hanfparade, Berlin and Akzept Annual Conference, Bielefeld), Greece (Legalize Protestival, Athens), and Spain (Foro Internacional Social de Cannabis, Irún).
Throughout the year, the ENCOD co-ordinator wrote monthly articles in Cañamo (Spain) and responded to information requests from journalists, researchers at EMCDDA, Rand Europe and various Universities, individual activists from in- and outside Europe, students and others.
– National campaign activities
In 2013, the Encod coordinator served as moderator of the monthly meetings of the platform of Dutch cannabis activists united in the VOC (Verbond voor Opheffing van het Cannabisverbod), which meets on a monthly basis.
The VOC organised a systematic lobby effort to prevent Dutch Minister of Justice Opstelten to continue with his increasingly repressive measures against coffeeshops and cannabis, developed various actions to influence the media debate and organised the Dutch versión of the Million Marijuana March, Cannabisbevrijdingsdag, in Amsterdam, on 15 June. Some 6.000 people attended the event.
– Trekt Uw Plant – Cannabis Social Club – Belgium
In 2013 the Encod coordinator also started to work half time as a coordinator for the CSC Trekt uw Plant. As such he is responsible for overseeing the 10-15 growing sites of the club, the administration of (new) members, organisation of events where members can have an intake session and/or speak with a doctor, and where cannabis plants are distributed to the members. In 2013 approx. 23 kilos of cannabis were distributed without any disturbance by the legal authorities.
The media attention (newspapers, Radio & TV) for the work of TUP was overwhelmingly positive. For the 8th time in a row, TUP organised the Belgian version of the Million Marijuana March on 25 May in Antwerpen (200 participants),
In February 2013, the Encod secretariat had to move urgently to a new location following a fire incident in the squatted monastery close to the Antwerp Central Station where we were staying before. This location was temporary, by mid 2014 we are supposed to find a new location.
6. Financial report (see Annex 2)
Encods income is basically formed by membership fees. The expenses are formed by salary costs, the overhead costs of the Antwerp office, campaign and travel costs. The salary costs are halfly paid by the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt uw Plant. The Encod coordinatoir works half time for Encod, half time for Trekt uw Plant.
Each month the financial report is sent to the Steering Committee members. For more information on the financial report please contact us at email@example.com.
7. Thank you very much………
Finally, it should be mentioned that ENCODs work in 2013 could never have been possible without the support of all members and the active and excellent engagement of the following people. Sorry if we forgot someone…….
Laura Albarracín, Alexander Pistor, David Rosse, Martin Barriuso, Janko Belin, Jan Boyer Vindheim, Myranda Bruin, Bushka Bryndova, Cañamo, Enrico Fletzer, Hanka Gabrielova, Farid Ghehioueche, Has Cornelissen, Urki Goni, Andreas Holy, Beatriz Negrety, Joep Oomen, Frantisek Pisarek, Fredrick Polak, Pedro Quesada, Jean Michel Rodriguez, Martin Veltjen, Mechtild Schopp, Michalis Theodoropoulos, Kris Verdonck, Alessandra Viazzi, Boaz Wachtel, Peter Webster, Elia Dicaro, Kenzi Riboulet, Olivier Mathieu, Nina van Alphen, Hein Schafrat, Lisa Lankes, Andrej Kurnik, Yliena Daniello, Louis Everaerts, Bill Griffin, Franco D’Agata, Isabella Controllo, Susanne Matern.
This year we lost Xavier Pretel from Spain, one of the most dedicated drug user activists in Europe. We will never forget him.