Over the course of three days ENCOD’s annual General Assembly took place near Barcelona, Spain in the weekend of the 2nd to 4th of june 2017. This was the first GA since the untimely demise of founder and inspirator Joep Oomen who passed away in March 2016.
Present were 10 members from 8 countries and 5 aspiring members, specifically:
Enrico Fletzer / Radio K / Italy
Frantisek Pisarek / individual member / Czech republic
Gaby Kozar / individual member / Austria
Richard Rainsford / CSC.EU Website/ Germany
Has Cornellisen / Legalize / The Netherlands
Maja Kohek / individual member / Slovenia
Erec Kozar / individual member / Legal Europe / Austria
Bart Behets / individual member / Belgium
Ana Afuera / Spain / FAC
Jose Afuera / Spain La MACA
Matthijs Pontier (NL)
Dana Beal (US)
Bill Griffin (BE)
Sam Krouwel (NL)
Nico Vlaming (NL)
Day 1: Annual reports 2015 and 2016, Bylaws, workshops on Google Suite, banking and privacy, Spend Money Protocol, Reports by country.
After the opening words and a minute of silence we went straight to the annual reports of 2015 and 2016, including financial statements. These were approved by the GA before the first coffee break, around 12 o’clock.
Because the past two years had shown some deficiency in our structure, we then continued to work on a bylaws document, prepared by Ana and Nico. These bylaws incorporate the statutes and the house rules documents and add a few articles to them that the GA found missing. The approved documents can be found here.
The next agenda points were workshops. We divided ourselves in smaller interest groups to be able to work on multiple issues at the same time. First we started out with a workshop led by Richard on the newly acquired Google Suite tooling. As an NGO we were invited to use these tools for free. For the day to day organisation of ENCOD we expect that these tools will prove to be very useful.
A parallel workshop session followed after which we discussed the results:
The most important result of the banking workshop was the realisation that we are unsatisfied with the service of our current banking services provider. A list of requirements has been made and as of now we are in the process of finding a new banking services provider.
To assist in the work of the treasurer and to clarify the procedure of reimbursement for costs made for ENCOD the GA devised a protocol delineating the different aspects of this process. Mostly interesting for members of the Executive Committee, yet available here to read.
After dinner time we continued the meeting with the reports by country.
Maya tells us: There is not much movement in drug policy. Only talking about medicinal cannabis. One report from ministry of health / national institute of public health says there were 2 deaths of cannabis in 2016. This is (of course) nonsense, it is propaganda.
Enrico reports on Medicinal Cannabis: Found pharmacies to inform medicinal cannabis is illegal. But military (was) growing it.
Some mistakes were made on part of harm reduction.
Hemp flowers are being sold.
Frantisek explains the 3-4 years struggle with medicinal cannabis for the pharmacies. The system doesn’t work. The agency for drug control has put their standards too high. Two or three companies were growing but no laboratory that could test it. Then some got imported from Holland, but that product is too expensive. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for it. They’re going to court. It is said the Drug Czar should fix this as soon as possible, and do research into cannabis social clubs. There was a marijuana march where someone from every party attended. When asked how far they are on cannabis, nobody said something.
A Czech Cannabis Social Club created by Dusan Dvorak was started in 2014 and by 2017 was raided 10 times by the police. He has strong arguments and complained at the human rights council. The authorities on the other hand try to get him diagnosed as a psychiatric patient ‘because he doesn’t understand growing cannabis is illegal’.
Eric and Gaby share the news that Austria wants to make CBD illegal. Also, Willi Wallner is still in jail (not any more!, red). CSC Salzburg was the only CSC that really distributed product. There is one other CSC, but it’s not distributing to patients. It’s only a political movement. Now Austria is getting sativex.
In other news, the ICACO conference is also coming up. It is organised by same organisation of the Hanfwandertag. A shop opened in Austria selling hemp flowers. It guaranteed 0.3% THC, but is under attack by the police. It is really important to push the Freedom to Farm campaign. In CBD bill it is included that some companies (included with name) can produce it.
Good News: Ulrike Lunacek, familiar with ENCOD and EP member for the Green Party, is the top pick for the green party. We need to get in touch and talk about including cannabis.
José presents the situation in Spain:
From 2000 to 2016 there was an increase of federations and clubs. Currently estimated over 1000 clubs, 61 of them members of FAC.
Interestingly, there are more regional groups, like the woman’s group ‘Mujeres Cannabicas’ that are booking success.
The Right Wing party is totally repressing various social movements, including cannabis in 2011. For example, the fine for smoking in public or for possession no longer is 300 euro but is now 600 euro minimally and can increase up to €10.000.
In that time also new companies and organizations started to develop.
In 2017 the cultivation of cannabis doubled and exported across the Pyrenees, also the price per kilo doubles in the north.
On the social movement side of things: 57.000 signatures were gathered in half a year to approve the CSC’s. In 15 days is the official voting in parliament of Catalunya. (This has happened since, see the report here. red) Same intents are expressed in 6 more regions of Spain.
Before we got here, it was a long road:
In 2013 the directive of Podemos and Ciudadanos start the prosecution of CSC’s.
In 2015 a new directive said that all CSC’s are invalid and that all clubs should be closed in the country.
Clubs (run by natives:) who follow good practices found themselves on the courts, prosecuted and had to deal with high costs of the prosecution, prison, etc. But if clubs were run by foreigners they were in a better position, had more options to “get away” from the punishments.
Dana Beal reports:
The US is still causing a lot of problems through their influence in the UN.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions would like to crack down on marijuana but is now dealing with other issues.There might be another attempt to deschedule cannabis but it will be very difficult to pass through Congress now with Trump as the President.
The focus thus shifts to Europe, this is potentially good for ENCOD.
MAPS has moved Ibogaine up with MDMA.
At long last someone did a 30 person study with effective results with Ibogaine to cure heroin use. It has leapfrogged past all the other drugs. There are 4 internet millionaires on the MAPS board.
Dana: It is important to have a global cannabis movement.
Dana: “There’s two kind of pots, one you use a forklift for, one you don’t.”.
This interesting remark concluded the official session of day 1. We would conclude the reports by country on day 3 as it had been a long day and our energy was depleted at this point.
Saturday, we continued with: Pirate party organisation, Member survey results, EC candidates presentations, Workshops, Future of ENCOD vote, Dana Beal on Ibogaine, Impact on EU presentation, Mapping ENCOD, Website proposal, Global Marijuana March
Matthijs introduced us to the concept of the swarm, referring to the book Swarmwise. The book is on leadership based on the following principles:
- Open and transparent
- Maintaining one value-set
- Control the vision, but not the message
- Responsibility and trust
- Mistakes are allowed
Because of the varied interests we present and because of our decentralised (geographically) organisation the idea of a holarchy spoke to us. A holarchy is not a hierarchy. It works with the following attributes:
- one vision / identity
- horizontal organization, but structured
- define goals, roles, tasks
- with a role / task, comes responsibility, freedom and trust
- form meritocracy
- organizational structure is fully transparent
- direct communication
The GA liked this structure and within the EC we are working on implementing this working method.
Matthijs also showed e-democracy tools that could help ENCOD create and filter ideas using an online platform.
Member survey results
Maja presented the results of the member survey. You can read them here.
EC candidates presentation
After it was decided that people could still nominate themselves at the GA the following list of candidates was made and each person presented him or herself:
A break followed and demarcated a new part of the day: more protocol workshops where on the menu.
Project Proposals protocol
We are reminded by Maja there was already a Project Proposal protocol made for ENCOD in 2012 called ‘Seeds for Drug Peace’. The GA accepted the plan to revive this initiative.
New members protocol
The new members protocol is a document describing how aspiring members can become members and what internal processes need to happen to complete the procces. It’s an internal document and can be requested by members through the secretariat.
A discussion on the future of ENCOD followed. Has presented the GA with three options:
- Finish ENCOD. Have one big action with the last money. Like demonstration, support a movement with problems, pay for a large court case, whatever you can think of. If we prepare it well we have €60.000 euros to spend (taken from Has’ presentation, much less as we found out).
- Make ENCOD a fund. Low overhead costs. GA decides what projects should get budgets like max €2000 euro.
- Continue growth. Try to replace Joep with a ‘dream team’ for funding, info-exchange and lobbying
We voted on these options as follows: One vote for option B, everyone else voted option C. We continue, clearly.
In the discussion that followed we found each other in the idea to connect with other organisations that we can work together with, in order to strengthen our position and network. It was also decided ENCOD should look for external funding by like minded organisations. That way ENCOD can grow and sustain itself.
Time for Dana Beal. Dana presented his work on Ibogaine:
Ibogaine is accepted by Maps, following their work on MDMA. Ibogaine expresses salvia that gets rid of tolerance and sprouts new receptors in people with parkinson’s. The treatment requires two doses of 4 milligram a day. Also works for early onset of MS.
Dana is trying to bring it to the Philippines were they’re killing drug users. Of the people killed in the Philippines, only 5 percent were potheads. The death rate is currently at 9000. Dana believes people deserve a way to heal themselves before they pull the trigger to get off crystal meth for example. Dana hopes it will catch on in other countries. We have the answer for heroin and crystal meth addiction, Dana says, ENCOD should get on this.
There’s a couple things to do in Europe, like a clinic. Dana is trying to get away with it already in Bosnia. But also a demonstration can be held. Dana is working on an application to the Czech government to give Ibogaine treatment to 10 people who haven’t been able to beat crystal meth addiction. He is also working on getting Ibogaine to Afghanistan.
Another idea is to get Trevor Miller in. He is the former deputy of the Drug Policy Alliance. With him Dana is trying to restart the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance (GITA). It needs a professional network of ibogaine providers.
The work on Ibogaine is important because Ibogaine can heal a person in 1/3rd of the average of 2 years of getting off heroin dependence.
ENCOD @ the EU
Unrelentless we continued with today’s programme. Ana Afuera held a presentation on the different ways in which ENCOD could engage the European Union political body.
There are three Decision making body’s at the EU:
- European Parliament
- European Commission
- European Council
Each has it’s own way of receiving input from individual Europeans or European organisations. Possible goals of engaging with these entities are:
Getting an issue on the agenda so that the entity needs to discuss it.
The entity discusses an issue we are interested in and we present a viewpoint to help the entity understand the issue and make a wise decision.
Initiation a law
We initiate a new law by gathering enough supporters from around Europe to force the entities to work on the law.
As one of the reasons for ENCOD’s existence, we should learn about the decision taking of the European Union.
These are some of the participatory ways currently available to ENCOD:
EESC (European Economic and Social Committee)
ENCOD could also cooperate with other social movements like:
ECAS (European Citizen Action Service)
What can ENCOD do? An example:
ENCOD could propose an implementation of the existing ‘Drug Prevention and Information Program’ to the European Commission. On approval ENCOD could receive funding from this European Programme to contribute to this work.
Next up was Gaby’s short elucidation on an interesting project: to create a map or multiple maps where members can find each other and non-members can find activist groups, lawyers, speakers and whatever else we come up with. It’s a bit like weedmaps but centered around our goal: peace between man and mind.
Richard then took the stage and presented his plans and budget for the new website. The current one does not support mobile devices and also looks a bit outdated. Therefore Richard and his team are going to develop a new website for ENCOD. All help is welcome.
The last agenda point today was, just like yesterday, in the hands of Dana Beal.
Global Marijuana March
Dana offers to hand over the ‘coordination’ of the Global Marijuana March over to ENCOD. What a generous offer that is! Right now there is nobody ‘in charge’ of the Global Marijuana March. Basically, it should be a list of events throughout the world, whether it’s on our website or a separate website. Our members are already organising some of these events, like Hanfwandertag, Hanfparade, Cannabis Liberation Day in the Netherlands and Belgium,
So basically, Dana passes the Global Marijuana March ‘torch’ over to ENCOD.
ENCOD could organise something like an art contest for a logo that would feature on all the posters of these events.
We are very honoured and thankful for this opportunity to unite the cannabis world even further.
Day 3 featured: Organisational structure, Belgium and Netherlands Reports, New members (Sam, Nico, Matthijs, Pacha Mama, Bill, Dana), Vote on EC, Funding the future of ENCOD
We started the day with a exploration of the organisational structure. We divided the work of ENCOD in several groups and with a raise of hands placed people into these groups.
The main groups are:
- Drug Policy (outward and international focused)
- Actions and Activism (inward and member focused)
- Supporting these main groups are:
If you are interested in working in any of these groups, we are very happy to have you. We are working on a webpage where every group is listed including contact details.
Reports by country cont.
Mambo had to change their statutes they are not cultivating, Michel is not allowed to be in touch with Trekt uw Plant (TUP). It is clear the Justice Department doesn’t want Cannabis Social Clubs to advance. TUP had 300.000 in assets which has been frozen after a big raid (18 house searches), 3 members went to jail for weeks but have been released as of writing. Street rave on June 10th in Liege. Confidence TUP will survive. Judge wasn’t happy with the process. Visible video campaign done by the members (inspired by Bob Dylan).
Cultivation law passed through House, but still needs to go through the Senate. It’s not perfect, but better than a perfect law that never passes. Cannabis Social Club Tree of Life in Amsterdam has chosen the scientific route. They found a place to grow, and are now in the process of applying for a license (much like one that Bedrocan has). Meanwhile, Suver Nuver (calling themselves a Social Club) has risen to ~4000 members, distributing cannabis oil through the mail on a donation. They are making huge amounts of money through working with growers supplying the coffeeshops, of which only the bottom part of the leaves and buds are reserved for patients.
CBD is available at drug stores, pharmacies, online and other distribution channels. Getting mainstream support. But no regulation. Still illegal to process hemp for oil. It is being grown in the Netherlands, but exported to Germany for processing after which it is imported again. Or it’s imported all together.
Still a misconception, also amongst the Dutch population, that you are allowed to have 5 plants. However, this was never a law, only a police guideline. If they want to raid you (for example after neighbour complaints), they can and in most cases will. With disastrous results, especially for those in a rented house. Even if you’re only growing 1 plant in your garden, you will be put out of your house, put on a blacklist and will find it really difficult to find a new place to live.
Johan van Laarhoven, founder of the Grass Company coffeeshops chain, is still imprisoned in Thailand. Very complicated situation, of which you can learn more at http://en.justiceforjohan.nl/en/
July 1st the Netherlands has planned to start it’s ‘spit test’ for THC, which could possibly mean that even if you aren’t under the influence but THC is still lingering in your system, they could take your license.
The ‘Weedpass’ still lingers on in several southern cities like Maastricht and Tilburg, where coffeeshops are not allowed to let in foreigners.
Banking problems have caused for many (seed) companies to move to Spain. PayPal threatening with freezing your account and fining you for 40.000 if you continue to do business.
Has is working on an Auction model for the Haarlem coffee shops and is also still developing a drugs course.
Ayahuasca is officially ‘legalized’ for traditional use in the Netherlands, but it is not allowed to import or produce the required plants in the Netherlands.
Dried mushrooms are no longer (for several years now) allowed to be sold by smartshops. Truffles, also a mushroom but not rising above the earth in growth, are still allowed to be sold by smartshops, as are grow kits.
Recently 4FMP has been banned (rescheduled). 4FMP gives XTC like effects. A ban has never worked, and as such is predicted to cause problems.
Welcoming new members
It is always nice to have new people and organisations joining the cause and as such it was a pleasant moment when we could invite Sam Krouwel, Matthijs Pontier, Bill Griffin, Nico Vlaming, Dana Beal (associate member) and CSC PachaMama into our midst as new members of ENCOD.
The Executive Committee
A few preliminary votes were held.
First, it was decided that ENCOD would have 7 EC members in the coming period.
Second, it was decided that the coming period would last 1 year, instead of the regular two year period. Thus the elected EC is elected for only one year.
Third, the actual vote. Gaby, Erec and Mauro each had two votes and Frantisek had three votes to give. Everyone else had one vote.
The result you already know, but for completeness it is represented here again:
- Maja Kohek (President)
- Gaby Kozàr (Treasurer)
- Nico Vlaming (Secretary)
- Enrico Fletzer
- Mauro Picavet
- Matthijs Pontier
- Ana Afuera
After congratulations all over the place we still had some more points to end the day with.
Funding the future of ENCOD
A budget for 2017 was presented and agreed upon. It can be found here.
It’s presentation brought with it a discussion about how to reward people who put a lot of time and effort into ENCOD. With the valuable input of our newest member Pacha Mama we could learn from CATFAC’s experience and agree on a reasonable regulation for the funding group: 17,5% of the acquired funding will go directly to the person/persons responsible for the acquisition in the first half year. After that period an evaluation follows and one could discuss a working budget for further fundraising work.
In general it was agreed that all fees should be agreed upon by a majority of the EC.
Thank you very much!
On the spot a press release was written and after taking a final group picture, the GA of 2017 had come to an end, but not before thanking everyone involved including José who arranged a the fantastic barbeque by the pool on saturday and Gaby who made sure everyone could be fresh and clean by spreading hemp-decorated soap all around the premises.