Apologies to any who might consider this as spam; thought at least some of you will find this important enough to know about and maybe want to support, if it's something you feel is worth supporting.
The European Citizen Action Day for Just and Effective Drug Policies took patr on April 21. On this day, a Public Hearing took place in the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the future of drug policies in Europe.
A full report on the hearing and photos are available at the site http://encod.org/freshair.htm
. The Hearing showed that both inside civil society organisations, local authorities and European institutions, voices in favour of change in drug policy dominate the debate. Authorities ignore this message, and continue to keep public and parliamentary attention away from the disastrously negative outcomes of current drug policies, so the lessons that can be learned from them are not implemented.
So there went a fresh air through the European Parliament, and for the first time in history it was allowed that people from the audience took the floor to ask unusual questions or tell unusual stories (unusual of course for EU bureaucrats). For instance, total silence fell over the room when Mefisto from Rome told the story of Giuseppe, a 23 year old man from Southern Italy, who a few months ago had been taken for growing three plants of marihuana in his backyard and had become so stigmatised in his village, that he ended with taking his life.
Gerd Leers, lord mayor of the city of Dutch city Maastricht, close to the Belgian and German border, presented his proposal for peace in the war against cannabis cultivators that is costing his police force 100.000 working hours a year. "I am convinced that a regulation of the production of cannabis will lead to the disappearance of a large amount of criminality".
Before him, Massimo Barra, of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Foundation had declared that years of experience of harm reduction programmes in Europe should lead to the conclusion that we need these courageous strategies, not only for the benefit of drug users, but for the benefit of the entire community.
The position of the Catania report has become stronger by this Hearing. ENCOD is working on future actions to convince EU authorities to take the report into account in future EU drug policies. We still need your help and support to achieve this.
Petition on http://action.encod.org
The petition campaign will continue at least until the end of June (we will ask people to sign until the 15th of June) - we can then use the figure in press releases around the EU meeting where they will announce the new Action Plan, and around the ENCOD General Assembly, which will take place on 25 and 26 June in Berlin.
Currently from your country we have 509 signatures. We still need many more signatures! You could help us to spread the news about the petition by forwarding the following message to all people you know may wish to sign as well. Please spread this message on your favorite internet forums, mailing lists or your personal blog.
Do You Want an End to the War on Drugs?
Then please read this.
Last year December, the European Parliament approved the 'Catania report' . This report contains recommendations for a fundamental change of drug policy in the European Union. It is now up to EU authorities to respect these recommendations in future EU Drugs Policy.
The report expresses the need, first of all, to promote health and stop unnecessary repression. It opens up the discussion about replacing the dogma of drug prohibition with a balanced approach based on science and common sense. European activists for drug policy reform have started a petition to support the Catania report and put pressure on EU authorities to implement it in their policies. In one month, this petition gathered more than 40.000 signatures. The petition will be presented to the European Union on 15 June 2005.
If the EU will adopt the recommendations of this report, it will mean a step with great symbolic value, both inside Europe and towards the rest of the world. The Catania report talks a different language, if it "contaminates" the EU Drugs Policy, many national debates can start on the issue of what this means for national practices.
Join the fight for different drug laws. Sign the petition on http://action.encod.org/
and ask others to do the same. (the report is available on this site)
Help challenge the new UK law banning fresh magick mushroooms!
It may seem to some like clutching at straws but I think this could have
some real mileage in it. Several mushroom traders have set up a fund to
initiate a judicial review of Clause 21 of the new Drugs Act. This will
stop the law being imposed until the review is complete. The only catch
is that we would need to raise up to £30,000, but considering that there
are an estimated 300 mushroom retailers in this country, donations of
just £100 each would cover it, and then we may find fresh mushrooms
staying legal. Check out the web site -
- and sign the petition, make a donation, or join the proposed march on
Downing St on June 5th.
7 MAY GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH *** BUSH IN AMSTERDAM
JOIN THE MARCH IN YOUR CITY
People allover Europe are involved in individual or collective actions to show their protest against current drug policies. We have proved that if the voice for change is strong enough, it cannot be ignored. If you want to join this voice and know more about possible actions, please contact ENCOD and visit http://action.encod.org
for an updated action calendar.
ENCOD is a network of organisations and individuals working across Europe. We do not have any stable funding, and depend on membership fees to finance our activities. Please consider becoming a member or suscriber to our monthly newsletter - minimal fee 15 EURO/year (7.5 Euro for Eastern Europe) - visit http://www.encod.org/support.htm
We hope to hear from you.
The ENCOD staff
EUROPEAN COALITION FOR JUST AND EFFECTIVE DRUG POLICIES (ENCOD)
Lange Lozanastraat 14
Tel. 00 32 (0)3 237 7436
Fax. 00 32 (0)3 237 0225