PRESS RELEASE OF TREKT UW PLANT
Today, Thursday June 26th, 2008, the Belgian Cannabis Social Club Trekt Uw Plant and 5 of its members have been acquitted for the establishment of a cannabis plantation.
On July 27th 2006 in the Botanic Gardens of Antwerp, with the permission of the local authorities and the police, we planted a cannabis seed that would become the first mother plant of our club. On December 12th 2006, again in the Botanic Gardens and again with the permission of the local authorities and the police, 6 members of Trekt Uw Plant each cut a clone of this motherplant. The 6 plants formed the first collective cannabis plantation of the association, on the basis of the principle 1 plant for each adult member.
The aim of Trekt Uw Plant was to make concrete use of the possibility created by the Belgian legislation to grow cannabis for personal use. In January 2005 a ministerial guideline has been established according to which the possession of max. 3 grammes and 1 cannabisplant is no longer prosecuted.
In the establishment of the plantation, Trekt Uw Plant has strictly implemented the rules of the ministerial guideline. In spite of that, the legal authorities decided to prosecute.
In the end of October 2006, a member of Trekt Uw Plant was approached by a representative of the Antwerp District Attorney, who warned him for the fact that the planned activities of Trekt Uw Plant could lead to a prison term of max. 5 years.
During the courtcase for the local court of Antwerp, on 27 March 2008, District Attorney Lins demanded max. 80 hours of community work for the members of Trekt Uw Plant, as well as the dissolution of the club, which he considered to be a criminal organisation.
The Antwerp court finally judged that Trekt Uw Plant is not a criminal organisation, and condemned the members for nothing else than the possession of cannabis.
On June 12th 2008, during the courtcase for the court of appeal, the District Attorney announced, in an unexpected move that surprised everyone who followed the case, that he would drop the charges against Trekt Uw Plant because the possession of cannabis is not a crime but an an offense, and too much time has passed since the offense was committed.
This sentence has been provoked by the District Attorney himself, when during the first session of the court of appeal on January 24th 2008, when there was still time to condemn the offense, he asked for a delay of 5 months to deal with the case. It has been a trick of the District Attorney in order to cover up his defeat in this case. The charges have been dropped but a debate on the core question – can cultivating cannabis for personal use be prosecuted or not – has been avoided.
This sentence implies an acquittance. The District Attorney stops the prosecution it has started against us. This is a political message that the ministerial cannabis guideline of 2005, according to which the possession of max. 3 grammes and 1 cannabis plant for personal use is not prosecuted, is still valid and can be applied. From this sentence, we conclude that the actions of Trekt Uw Plant fit completely within the ministerial guideline and these actions can be permitted in the future.
We now consider the next steps that Trekt Uw Plant will take. New actions will follow in the autumn.