5 september 2014
Decisive moment for second Cannabis Social Club of Belgium
Mambo Social Club Press Release
Hasselt – On Tuesday, September 9th the board of the Mambo Social Club will have to appear in the court of Hasselt. According to the public prosecutor of Hasselt, the existence of the association, the second Cannabis Social Club of Belgium, represents a serious violation of public order. President Michel Degens has confidence in the case.
The reason for the lawsuit is the police action against the club that took place on December 18, 2013, when the Hasselt police stopped chairman Degens on his way to a meeting of the cannabis social club. He was found in the possession of the harvest of twenty-seven cannabis plants which the club had grown and that was intended for sixty members, a total of 1100 grams. This was followed by a search of two of the growing sites of the club, where in total 36 plants, all identified with declarations of property and ID cards of the members, were seized.
The Mambo Social Club is a non-profit organization that cultivates 100% organic cannabis for about hundred members. Their workings are based on the ministerial directive of 2005, which states that possession by an adult of up to 3 grams of cannabis and / or one cannabis plant is no longer prosecuted, except in cases of nuisance or aggravating circumstances. In recent years in Belgium five such clubs were established next to Hasselt in Antwerp, Liege, Andenne and Namur.
Cannabis Social Clubs are an initiative of cannabis consumers who are tired of dealing with the illegal market and want to avoid getting in touch with people they rather avoid. On the one hand because they indirectly support criminal organizations, on the other because the quality of the product offered there often is beneath standard. Criminology Professor Tom Corte from the University of Ghent conducted a study on the Cannabis Social Clubs. He concludes that the Cannabis Social Club model is a ‘valuable line of thought ‘ to tackle the dilemma between a total ban on cannabis and full legalisation.
Mambo Social Club’s President, Michel Degens, hopes that the Hasselt Court agrees to this vision: “We share the concerns about the use of cannabis, especially by young people. We hope that through our way of working we are able to contribute to society and that we can prevent young people getting into contact with cannabis. The members of Mambo are all adults who choose to use and grow cannabis in the most responsible way possible. We have always followed the ministerial directive for 100% and there has never been a nuisance to anybody nor any complaints. As previously was the case of our colleagues in Antwerp, we assume that the court recognizes that Cannabis Social Clubs are no criminal organizations, but rather provide a healthy and safe alternative to the criminal underworld.”