The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies calls on the participants of the conference on « Pharmacologic progress and therapeutic use of cannabis in medicine » (European Parliament on 19 October 2012) to support the decriminalization of the cultivation of cannabis for personal use.
Since 2005, Encod, a European platform of 150 organisations and individual citizens opposed to the war on drugs, is campaigning for what we call Freedom to Farm: every adult should have the right to grow and possess natural plants for personal use and non-commercial purposes, using all technical equipment that is available for this.
On the conference in the European Parliament, various representatives of pharmaceutical companies (such as Bedrocan from the Netherlands) will comment the latest knowledge on the medicinal values of cannabis. For millions of Europeans living with diseases such as MS, cancer, chronical pains etc., cannabis means the difference between a worthy and a miserable life. “We are concerned by the fact that patients or their relatives are not incorporated among the speakers in this conference. Patients should be the first to be heard in this debate, they are waiting for a solid and quick solution to the current dilemma.”, says Farid Ghehioueche, Encod –representative in France.
Encod fears that the conference in the European Parliament is part of a strategy of pharmaceutical companies which are increasingly interested in the promising economic perspectives of medicinal cannabis. These companies may wish to prepare legislation that will give them the monopoly to grow cannabis and produce cannabis derivatives to patients in the European Union. Encod proposes the Freedom to Farm as an alternative scenario: every adult should be permitted the right to legally cultivate cannabis plants for his/her personal use.
‘Cannabis is one of the small group of medicinal plants that can be safely used by lay persons, because the effect comes rather quickly, and the dosage is easy. Users learn very quickly to self-administer the right strain of cannabis and the right quantity‘, says Dutch psychiatrist Fredrick Polak, president of Encod.
Those who are too ill to cultivate can become a member of a so-called Cannabis Social Club, non-profit associations that grow cannabis for the personal use of their members, in order to avoid the illegal market and assure good quality cannabis for a fair price. Several members of Encod are currently establishing Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain, Belgium, France and Slovenia.