Minutes of the 2012 ENCOD General Assembly
T Klooster, Antwerpen, Belgium
June 22nd, 23d and 24th, 2012.
1) Jason Rice / UK /
2) Andrea Thürauf / Hanf – Initiative / Germany /
3) Ingrid Wunn / Hanf – Initiative / Germany /
4) Kris Verdonck / Trekt Uw Plant / Belgium /
5) Mechthild Schopp / Hanf – Initiative / Germany
6) Farid Ghehioueche / Cannabis Sans Frontières / France/
7) Dominique Broc / Cannabis Social Clubs / France
8) Fredrick Polak / SDB / Netherlands /
9) Urki Goni / EUSFAC / Spain /
10) Joep Oomen/ ENCOD/ Belgium/
11) Pedro Quesada / Enlace / Spain /
12) Boaz Wachthel / Individual member / Israel
13) Chakib El Khayari / invited speaker / Morocco
14) Jason Farrell / MDHG / Netherlands
15) Bas Tielens / Trekt Uw Plant (Belgium)
16) Alun Buffry / Ind. Member/ United Kingdom
17) Lesley James / Ind. Member / United Kingdom
18) Danny Freeman / Trekt Uw Plant / Belgium
19) Jorge Luis / Trekt Uw Plant / Belgium
20) Janko Belin / Areal (Slovenia)
21) Max Plenert / DHV – Akzept (Germany)
22) Jan Bojer Vindheim / ind. Member / Norway
23) Bruno Valkeneers / Liaison Antiprohibitionniste / Belgium
24) Alessandra Viazzi / PIC – Italy
25) Michel Degens / Trekt uw Plant / Belgium
26) Jean Michel Rodriguez / Club Social de Grazalema / Spain
27) Pepi Barea / Club Social de Grazalema / Spain
28) Morgan Labey / ind. Member / France
29) Baylen Greever / Friends of the Coca leaf / Belgium
30) Julien Ureel / Friends of the Coca leaf / Belgium
31) Beatriz Negrety Condori / Friends of the Coca leaf / Belgium
32) Guillaume / Cannabis Sans Frontières / France
33) Greg / Cannabis Sans Frontières / France
34) Jaka Bitenc / AREAL / Slovenia
35) Maja Kohec / AREAL / Slovenia
Excused: Myranda Bruin (Netherlands) and María García Méndez-Bencomo and Federico Tallo Aldana (Spain),
1. BUREAUCRATICAL MATTERS
The annual report on 2011 was approved, all Steering Committee members have been relieved from their duties.
2. OVERVIEW ON DRUG POLICY SITUATION IN EUROPE
Norway – Jan Bojer
There are some positive developments thanks to the presence of the Prime Ministers father in the Global Commission on Drug Policy, but general attitudes remain conservative. Discussion is going on whether drug use influences driving. The user room in Oslo is still operating.
Slovenia – Janko Belin (AREAL)
HR programmes have been from users by ordinary NGOs in favour of government policy. In 2002 a first user room had been opened on own initiative but closed in 2008. In 2011 after GA, we started with the idea of a CSC, in January we registered, a legal change allowed user rooms in collaboration with minister of health, but now the minister told us we cannot cooperate with them anymore, as we have a bad reputation. We will try to collect signatures, with NGOs of handicapped people, for changing the law.
United Kingdom – Alun Buffry
Little development. Sentencing guidelines for cannabis cultivation have changed: less than 25 plants community service , more is prison, but some judges say with one plant you go to prison. Activist Winston Matthews defied it and is now in prison for 16 months. Activists are changing the agenda freedom to farm for own use in order to emphasise the people in this, it would make a cost/benefit analysis. Pression on legal highs cuase of methadrone issue, in the press scary stories pop up.
Germany – Max Plenert (DHV)
Green Party proposes legal regulation for all drugs with low risk, based on scientific approach. A parliamentary hearing was organised on cannabis as medicine. Harm reduction: conferences and release of the German translation of the Transform report. Hemp lobby was successfull in proposing a nr. 1 question on You Tube to Merkel. Other actions were MMM, Cannabiskultour. Germany left the Pompidou Group (Council of Europe). Schildower Kreis represents all important thinkers in Germany, maybe they will become an Encod member. Elections next year, but nothing will really change before 10 / 15 years.
The Netherlands – Jason Farrell (MDHG) / Fredrick Polak (SDB)
Decrease of harm reduction services in NL, MDHG made petition to MP’s. This is a general trend in other countries too: police confiscating supplies, HR policy is only on paper, Global Fund is threatened to close. HR policies are easily chosen to take money from, because there is still a lot of conservatism around this.
Hope on the elections in NL, but we have to expect government coalition to see if weedpass will continue. Experiences in Southern part show people do not want to register, street market takes over;
Reports about Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Israel to be added later
3. DRUG POLICY SITUATION IN MOROCCO
Chakib El Khayari, Human Rights Association, Rif Region, Morocco presented a speech in which he expressed his gratitude to Encod for all the support he received while in prison between February 2009 and May 2011. He informed us of the growing acceptance of the plea for legalisation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes in Morocco. Up to three important parties and the security advosir of the King have expressed they are in favour of considering this possibility. According to Chakib the next step is to prepare the public opinion for this step. He proposed Encod to participate in the organisation of (press) conferences in Morocco on the technical and commercial possibilities of industrial hemp and medical cannabis. We agreed to set aside a budget of 2.000 euros for this goal in 2012.
4. REPORT BY SC MEMBERS AND SECRETARIAT
Fredrick, Janko, Boaz, Farid and Jan presented their report, as well as Joep for the secretariat. The organisation of the Vienna event in March was mostly discussed, as the real output of this event had been much less than the expected. We agreed that we should make more optimal use of our resources, and adapt our plans to what is feasible and strictly necessary.
4. LOBBY ACTIVITIES AT THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
Fredrick kicked off the discussion with an analysis of the most important developments at international level and what can be the plusvalue of Encod there?
Participating at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a frustrating experience, no room for manoeuvre for governments and in the NGO community several voices calling for drug prohibition in order to protect the rights of children. Organising an outside event without a good representative in Vienna is difficult.
Conclusion: for the moment we stick to just a 5 person delegation to the CND meeting next year in Vienna. These 5 delegates are supposed to coordinate their strategy on beforehand, with eachother and with likeminded organisation that are present there..
Participating at the EU Civil Society Forum has become a bit less frustrating, above all since the succesfull introduction of the Cannabis Social Club campaign by Urki last session in April. This forced the other NGOs to start thinking out of the box. Nobody disagrees that it is important to be in the CSF, but nobody really expects big changes to be initiated from this forum neither. The Commission wants to impose a consensus – this year we avoided that by not signing the global recommendation (that did not include a word on the need for alternatives to prohibition) – and is not interested in a real dialogue with binding consequences.
Conclusion: we should remain but with a PITA (pain in the ass) strategy. We will set up a series of conditions to which the Encod delegation to the CSF should fulfil, including a description of a global strategy, that includes the effort to discuss the entire structure of the CSF, its funding etc., the obligation to send a detailed report to all members etc.
Follow up: Secretariat and steering committee
3. CANNABIS SOCIAL CLUBS
Urki started this discussion with a presentation of the achievement of Spanish Cannabis Social Clubs and an analysis of the question if this experience can be transferred to other countries, and if Encod can have a plusvalue in this process?
The model makes progress in different ways in various countries. IN Belgium there is a legal basis, in France the first club has recently been announced and is waiting for the developments to come, in Slovenia there is work in progress and in UK, Germany and Italy similar initiatives are gaining ground, although an official club can not be established.
We agreed quickly that this model should be promoted: it could serve as an example of how the drug market could be regulated in a legal framework: it minimises the risks to users, cuts off a part of the illegal market and is not profit oriented.
The model should also be studied: differences between clubs in Spain have appeared, between village and big city, not everything workls well, some clubs are operating as coffeeshops. Encod can play a role in supervising the phenomenon and trying to draw the best conclusions for other countries to follow.
In the coming months CSC ‘s from Spain and Belgium will gather available research data on the impact of CSC’s and approach scientists to contribute to this research on legal, social medical aspects. A collection of legal precedents will be made as well, in order to make a document for legal defense available that can be used by any lawyer in the EU to defend a similar initiative. We could also use the work of German experts on the issue of what is possible for authorities to allow under present cannabis legislation (Krumdiek)
Encod can promote the CSC model by organising conferences/summer schools / making available flyers, operational guidelines and other info material – in any country where people would like to organise this, albeit in the form of civil disobedience. Budget: 2.000 for this year.
We can also promote the exchange of genetics among CSC’s.
Follow up: Secretariat with EUSFAC, the cannabis action group (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be started up again.
6. OTHER ACTIVITIES
During a Free Speech Round some 17 activity proposals were suggested, which were then discussed and brought back to basically 5 clusters. These were discussed in detail on Sunday with the following result in order of appearance:
– Encod website redesign
The Encod website needs a careful hand, more attarctive design and features should be installed.
Follow up : Secretariat with webmaster, after september
– Advocacy Letters
We should make own and participate in other’s sign on letters to plea for action in a concrete case or in general terms, state this on the website etc.
Follow up: Jason prepares draft letter on funding of HR programmes and standard conditions for drug detainees and users in prison, Max prepares a draft letter on overdose and on general European strategy
– Grassroot actions
Danny will initiate a grassroot action to promote the videa ‘What if Cannabis Cured Cancer’
Fredrick will take in charge the organisation of writers for the monthly Encod bulletin: for August and September Janko and Enrico have volunteered. : together with bulletin. Joep will add a monthly report on Encods main activities.
– Inventory of Encod members
We need an inventory of all Encod members, including their skills, ressources and activities so we can enable members to establish a pool between similar groups, such as a media pool. This inventory will be shared with all members and the broader public, so a more optimal use of the network can be made.
Follow up: Secretariat with IT expert (Tribble/Farid)
– European Parliament Election Campaign, 2014
We will start to prepare a campaign around the European Parliament elections in 2014. We will send a list of questions to all participating parties and inform on our website on their answers and on their behaviour in the drug policy debate. Thus we hope to initiate a public discussion around this issue. In France and the UK, some Encod members consider putting up their own list. Budget: 4.000 available until 2014
Follow up: Secretariat with Max, Farid and Jan
Regarding the proposal to start an European Citizens Initiative (collection of 1 million signatures among EU citizens) Max will provide the written guidelines from the EU regarding the viability of the move and the commitment (if any) to launch a discussion on the issue by EU bodies.
– Coca Leaf Campaign
In the coming 6 months Encod will support the cultural events organised by the Association Friends of the Coca Leaf to inform about the medicinal, cultural and food value of the coca leaf and promote its fair trade model to create a closed circuit between European coca leaf consumers and Andean growers. In this campaign we hope to work together with Encod members in various countries, as well as the Peruvian and Bolivian populations and embassies. Budget: 2.000 euro for travel costs.
Follow up: Secretariat with Julien
Encod Action Fund
Finally, it was decided to create an Encod fund. Thanks to the different Encod projects (such as Trekt uw Plant and VOC in the Netherlands) the administrative burden on the Encod budget has been reduced. This means that each year, some money may be left over after all Encod activities are financed. This year this could be 4.000 euro. We decided that this money can be used to support local actions of Encod members. For this goal, a procedure for application and selection of project proposals will be elaborated.
Follow up: Secretariat with Jason.
7. LIST OF EVENTS
27 – 30 June: Occupation Slovenian Ministery of Social Affairs, Ljubljana
6 July: Opening LEAP Branch, Paris
14 July: First National assembly of French Cannabis Social Clubs, Tours
11 August Hanfparade, Berlin
18 – 22 August: Rototom Festival, Valencia, Spain
14 – 16 September: First Cannabis Social Forum / Expo Grow, in IRUN, Basque country, Spain
28 – 30 June 2013 Encod General Assembly (Slovenia is the first option, this will later be decided by the SC)