What about Europe’s cannabis victories?
Anyone who cares about cannabis legalization is delighted by what is happening in America. Pot prohibition is ending in state after state. First medical marijuana is allowed, then comes recreational pot. The taxes keep flowing and guess what, crime goes down, accidental pain killer overdose deaths go down and society functions just fine. No zombies swamping malls and terrify middle class America.
But what about Europe? Where are our successes this year? Holland, the once mighty shining light of marijuana liberalism has now taken a step backwards. Coffee shops are being restricted and it has become criminal to sell the products and materials needed to grow that fine Amsterdam green. Belgium is another country famous for its cannabis tolerance. Adults can have three grams of marijuana in their possession. Once they are not causing a nuisance in public they are left unmolested. The new major of Antwerp however has made it clear that any smoking in public will lead to prosecution.
When the whole world was against cannabis, Holland stood up and called nonsense. Now that America is ending its war on cannabis, the rest of the world get to do it too. So why aren’t we? Besides Spain there is no news in Europe, or so it seems. Below the surface, fantastic organizations like Encod.org and weed like to talk, are striving to change European minds on the plant. There are cannabis social clubs, still in the shadows but very much alive in most European capital cities. These clubs seek to take cannabis off the street so it can be produced and consumed in a responsible manner. There is a great deal of optimism for the new year. There are German clubs about to step out into the light and hopefully their Czech neighbors will do the same.
Cannabis is a part of European culture. The cannabis social club model, bringing growers and consumers together in a closed group is a sensible solution for Europe. Criminalizing citizens for consuming a natural plant that is less dangerous than the legal drug alcohol is insane. The clash between what governments want and what young citizens are doing, is eroding the fabric of society. Cannabis should be legal. It should be grown in a safe, hygienic way and made available at affordable prices to those who choose to use it. Tax payers money is wasted when police focus on cannabis rather than actual criminal behavior.
2014 was the year of American and Uruguayan Cannabis. If European groups and activists can unite then 2015 will be our year. We need a European solution to this problem. Cannabis social clubs are that solution and together we can finally “just say no, to the war on drugs”!