Huge crowds filled streets of Czech capital Prague on Saturday 6th of May, and they all came for one thing: to express their disagreement over current prohibitionist laws. The 20th anniversary of Prague’s Million Marihuana March (MMM) attracted more than seven thousand people of all ages and all walks of life and showed once again to the world that Czechs are proud users and proponents of cannabis.
Czechs are well known for their positive attitude towards cannabis and pretty liberal drug laws, yet there is still much to improve in terms of cannabis policies, including nonfunctional medical cannabis program.
Yes, the Czech Republic is actually the first country in the world to legalize medical cannabis and then screw it up to the point where there is no cannabis available in pharmacies since February. This means that patients registered in the program face three unpleasant choices: break the law and go back to black market, break the law and start (again) growing their own, or go back to synthetic pharmaceuticals with many adverse side effects.
“Thousands of sick and old Czechs are thus forced to grow their own cannabis and risk criminal prosecution”
Freedom to Grow
“Although medical cannabis has been legalized in 2013, it is still practically and economically unavailable. Thousands of sick and old Czechs are thus forced to grow their own cannabis and risk criminal prosecution”, explains Robert Veverka, the director of Legalizace.cz, which is NGO organizing Prague’s MMM. “People came to this year’s demonstration because they want to express their discontent with current state of things and demand the legalization of growing, processing and possession of cannabis for personal use.”
Mr. Veverka further notes how cannabis prohibition doesn’t reflect the failures of war on drugs and the will of people – more than 50 percent of Czechs are for legalization and more than 90 percent support medical cannabis. Will politicians listen? It is true that the organizers of Prague’s MMM managed to organize political debate with four representatives of major political parties, however the biggest players on Czech political scene seem to prefer avoiding the topic completely.
Demonstrations, Seeds and Parliamentary Petition
To put the politicians and government under more pressure, NGO Legalizace.cz not only organizes MMM in Czech capital every year, it also gives away thousands of seeds to seniors (in fact everyone over 18) and, most recently, it has launched a petition demanding the Lower House of Czech Parliament to debate the legalization of production and use of cannabis for personal reasons. Once the number of signatures reaches 10 000, the deputies will have to open up a discussion about possible ways to end cannabis prohibition in the heart of Europe.
The 20th anniversary of Czech version of Million Marihuana March showed yet again that Czech people want to use cannabis without fear of prosecution, if they are not hurting anyone. And what can be a better proof of peacefulness of cannabis than seven thousand-strong crowd marching through Prague without causing any violence or obstructions – just compare it with any beer related occasion of this size.