Presentation by Joep Oomen at Cannafest Prague 2014.
The lecture is in the original version. Brief synopsis can be found in the description below. The goal of this contribution is to mobilize cannabis consumers in Czech Republic and elsewhere to consider the establishment of a Cannabis Social Club in order to promote this model as a legitimate proposal to regulate the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for personal use and thus create an alternative for the illegal market. The workshop explains the so-called Four Step Approach. In any country, where possession of a minor amount of cannabis for personal consumption does not lead to criminal persecution, it should be possible to organize a successful legal defense of a Cannabis Social Club. Based upon the argument that where people have the right to possess cannabis for personal consumption, they should be allowed to grow or ask others to do this for them. The first step is a public presentation of the initiative through a press conference or public action. The best is to involve a well-known personality in order to obtain press coverage and reduce the risk of being persecuted. The second step is the official creation of the Club as an association of cannabis consumers and producers, who grow collectively the given amount of cannabis for their personal consumption through a closed circuit. The purpose of this should be well defined in the statutes of the club: it should be a non-profit organization and it should pursue the health of its members, so one of the objectives should be to support research of the cannabis plant and the most environmental- and health-friendly ways to grow it. With the first limited group of members, the amount needed for their personal consumption can be easily established and the production of this amount can be started in a collective plantation. Make sure the cultivation is organic and that there is a good variety of plants available, so that the members can always choose between different strains and find out which is the most convenient one for them. The third step consists of the professionalization of the organization. With time, the amount of members will grow and the arrangements concerning production, transport, distribution, payments etc. will need to become more professional. Standards, rules and mechanisms for social control should be established in a transparent way, so that all the members of the association can participate in the decision-making process and intervene when necessary. The fact that you are a non-profit association does not mean that no commercial transactions can take place. To produce good quality cannabis in a safe and healthy way requires hard work, which should be remunerated. To operate as an association, expenses have to be made and people who run it should be remunerated. If profits are made, they should be used for the development of your association. Once a Cannabis Social Club is functioning properly, it is time for the fourth step: to convince political and legal authorities to install a legal regulatory framework for clubs, concerning licenses, taxes and external control. In most cases, politicians, legal experts, judges or policemen simply do not know how to start regulating a legal cannabis market. This can actually help the process: when there are no antecedents, the models that are proposed by the consumers themselves can become easier accepted. The results will be that participants in the workshop will be informed of a particular method to make peaceful activism for legal regulation of the cannabis market that has been successful in Spain, Belgium and possibly soon, the Czech Republic. Your are cordially invited to the annual conference at Cannafest, the international trade fair of cannabis and medical herbs that will take place on November 11-13, 2016 at the Prague Exhibition Holesovice. The conference presentations will be simultaneously interpreted into English and Czech. Information & Tickets: http://www.cannafest.com