From the Seki (LI72)

Crass: Now we have soon finished the year 2015. Our large-scale fundraising in 2015 worked, even if it was always extremely tight (I'm thinking of the end of August, when we were almost finished). But we made it work. Merci.

In September 2015 came a bound donation for a special project: enclose 18'000 postcards of the WOZ. So we welcome here again some new supporters!

In the LI72 insert, our members will find two copies of this postcard for our Members Recruit Members project. My request to you: pass them on to interested people, send them to your acquaintances and thus give us more members, donors and collaborators.

I was a founding member of our association25 years ago, and I have been secretary for 20 years. The anniversaries are piling up…

The last two years have been demanding for me, the reconstruction of our association has also been exhausting. Therefore, from mid-December to mid-January, I will be on reduced office duty for four weeks and will only be available every Tuesday afternoon during the winter break.

Hopefully strengthened from this recovery period, I will then tackle the new edition of our Shit happens project. Here I describe the project of a new edition for the 20th birthday of our Shit happens. I will be happy if you can support the 10th edition in one way or another in the new year.

Hanfig greets your secretary Sven

A quarter of a century for hemp

On the occasion of the anniversary “25 years of the association Legalize it!” and “20 years of secretary Sven” we allow ourselves a navel-gazing. Sandra and Ruth, two longtime members, ask our employee a few questions.

Sandra questions

How did you come to do the Legalize it! We were five or six people between the ages of 16 and 24 who had already done a few drug policy campaigns. In 1991, the main topic was the open drug scene, the conditions were horrible.

We then wanted to do something in Zurich on the subject of hemp. The VSHF (Swiss Hemp Friends Association) had been around for years, and I was also a member at that time. We asked to found a section in Zurich. But the membership fee of 100 francs was too high for most of us. Therefore we founded, with five times 25 francs, a new association…

How important is your work to you?

Well, it has had a great impact on my adult life. This December, we're sending me my 240th consecutive paycheck. During this time, the work for the association has made up about half of my working hours and also half of my salary. The unpaid work for the board of our association (together with Fabian for 15 years) is the biggest volunteer commitment in my life.

Of course, it was different in the beginning than it is today. Many questions that I asked myself back then and had brought me into hemp commitment have been answered. The youthful zeal has receded, many things are more professional. But it is still a very important topic for me.

Has your view of things changed in the course of your career on the subject of hemp?

Yes, of course. I've learned a lot, tried a lot, learned again, and been able to implement quite a bit. Back then we were already skeptical whether this society could establish a sensible way of dealing with hemp. This feeling has been reinforced over many experiences. I have seen a lot of stupidity in drug policy, in many offices, among many people in charge. At the same time, the power of the reasonable side is simply not assertive. Technically, everything is clear. Emotionally, on the other hand, you just can't get through. But I'm afraid: A society that can't even achieve a sensible approach to hemp won't be able to solve a single problem.

From what do you draw the strength to run against closed doors and hearts for 25 years? Well, it has become a job, of course. Only with free work all this would not be manageable.

Sure, I invest about half a day a week for the board work, together with Fabian. This work is not paid. But the remaining hours are paid - otherwise I don't do it (anymore). The first five years were exclusively volunteer work. But at some point you have to limit that, for health reasons, for burnout reasons, because of other interests and relationships. There needs to be a balance to the subject, otherwise I could hardly have kept at it for a quarter of a century.

What do you wish from us? From politics? From the press? From everyone else?

Of course, it would be nice if the opponents of legalization would realize that they are only encouraging crime. From politics, that they tackle problems objectively. From the consumers, that they finally get involved and don't just let themselves be judged case by case. From the non-users, that they deal with the matter and understand that the drug issue concerns everyone: The illegal drug business endangers the entire structure of society and cannot be solved repressively.

Ruth questions

Why are there no more demos? For demos, there needs to be a kick, a concrete demand that seems achievable or a great concrete injustice that outrages many. Today, many are sinking into resignation. The repression is too strong, the possibilities of a concrete improvement seem extremely small. Hope is missing.

Why do hemp persecutees not fight back?

Again and again, those affected defend themselves. But alone against the apparatus, be it public prosecutor, police or road traffic office, it is almost impossible to win. Joint actions, the formation of a broad and strong movement to defend themselves together and to achieve changes, only a few affected people are capable of.

One must also see: Despite all the repression that increases every year, well over 90% of all joints and deals are smoked and transacted without any problem. Even in road traffic only a few are caught in relation to the large number. Most don't experience the repression, at least not for a long time. So why change anything? That would be exhausting. Until it happens and an authority intervenes. Then again a person affected defends himself, alone against the apparatus…

How has the hemp policy changed in the last 25 years? To the positive? To the negative?

Actually, it has remained the same. There is always talk about legalization somewhere. The NarcA changes a little bit every few years, but factually it always runs the same: It's prosecuted…. It remains forbidden… All technical arguments are buried by an irrational fear. The only thing that changes: More and more people are being fined and prosecuted.

How could LI better draw attention to itself? With more people who are concretely active. With more money. With ingenious ideas. But I also have to say: In this quarter of a century, we have probably tried everything there is: Printing magazines, distributing flyers, placing ads, distributing postcards, being present in the media, maintaining an informative website, offering meeting projects, conducting consultations…. Unfortunately, we have not yet become a really large organization.

Why are so many hemp users afraid to become members of the LI? Can you understand that?

No, I have never understood this fear. Our association does not commit any illegal acts. Our goal, the legalization of hemp in Switzerland, is legal.

To consume hemp, to import seeds, to buy hash, to grow plants or to deal: It can cause problems (and people do it anyway, every day). To advocate for political change, that is simply a fundamental right. I'm afraid that “fear” is a pretext for not having to do anything, not having to pay anything, not having to advocate.

Can you explain (to me) why hemp consumption is still forbidden despite all the knowledge? Why “Legalize it!” is not there at the longest? Well, globally speaking, we are closer than ever to the goal of hemp legalization. If even the mother country of repression, the USA, carries out partial state legalizations - and that without significant problems, but with many positive effects - then it shows that what is possible today, would also be possible here. Switzerland is simply a bit slow in this respect. The fear that it will simply get out of hand is great. But the USA has shown that hemp legalization can be carried out in a highly meticulous, precise, almost obsessively controlled manner. In the end, the majority in Switzerland has to realize that prohibition has horrible consequences and that legalizing hemp solves the problems to a large extent. To accelerate this insight is still my goal.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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