Repression on the rise. On the case of Basel

While the last Legalize it! was already in print, another demo against repression and for a reasonable handling of smoking pot took place in Basel on November 30, 2002. Afterwards the Basel government council wrote a few lines about smoking pot, which we don't want to withhold from you…

The demo in Basel was the conclusion of the series of demos in 2002 - we already reported from St. Gallen, Olten and Bern (see last Legalize it! issues). In Basel the weather was quite nasty. Cold, wet - no suitable demo weather. Nevertheless, it was the biggest demo of the last year on the topic of smoking pot: About 400 people followed the organizers' call to demonstrate against the repression against hemp stores. As with the other demonstrations, there were too few demonstrators to achieve a broader effect. The vast majority of consumers are interested in a decent piece at a good price. The defense of hemp stores is not included in that. Why should it? The smokers buy their weed, pay for it - and that's where the solidarity ends. The risk of the store owners is covered for the vast majority of consumers with the margin on the weed. A personal commitment remains alien to so many. Instead of standing up for the stores, the vast majority prefer to spend their time looking for replacements for the closed stores…

Bigger demonstrations always had a little treat for the demonstrators: Free sacks of perfume, contests, or individuals who were known for their activities. Only very few people go to demos just like that. Will that change this year? Whether the hemp scene will be able to organize powerful demos? We are of course curious and will certainly go to as many events as possible, distribute Legalize it! and report about it.

The Basel SP parliamentarian Peter Aebersold asked the Basel government the following questions before the demo: “Doesn't the government think that there is an interest in allowing a limited local market so that the scenes of hard and soft drugs can continue to be separated? Is the government willing to see that the opportunity principle is used to control for this purpose? Are those responsible open to discussions with the serious part of the hemp shop scene? Is the government willing to see to it that conditions for tolerating a restricted sales scene are formulated, controlled and enforced (e.g. regarding store density, protection of minors, prohibition of sales to foreigners not resident in Switzerland, fair trade, avoidance of nuisance for residents, separation of markets, etc.)?”

The answer of the government council followed on January 7, 2003: “(…) The revision of the NarcA has been discussed for years in the various committees of the federal government and is taking an unduly long time. Therefore, it cannot be completely ruled out that, on the one hand, this has created a certain uncertainty in enforcement among the law enforcement agencies, and on the other hand, it has given the wrong impression to a part of the population that trade and consumption of cannabis is allowed. (…) According to current forecasts, the revision of NarcA will be passed in 2004 at the earliest, more realistically in 2005. (…) For reasons of separation of powers, it is far from the government council to give any instructions to public prosecutor regarding criminal prosecution; (…) However, to apply the (…) opportunity principle to the entire narcotics trade (i.e., among others, also to the commercial trade in larger quantities of cannabis products) cannot be considered for reasons of legal policy. This is to be introduced only with the federal revision bill and at the same time also clearly defined. However, consensus on the “whether” and the “how” of this new regulation currently exists neither in the federal councils nor in society. An official anticipation of certain provisions of the draft revision is neither justifiable nor lawful. (…) It is at least questionable whether (…) the “serious part” of the hemp shop scene addressed by the interpellant actually exists. (…) Official negotiations and agreements between authorities and hemp shop operators are out of the question in view of the current legal situation. (…)». All clear? It is and remains forbidden.

On February 13, 2003, the Basel section of SHK submitted a petition with 3000 signatures to demand a change of this attitude. Nevertheless, there were over 250 raids in Basel.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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