The first official gathering and pro-cannabis legalization celebration has been organized by collectives and citizens in Greece. The festival called Athens Cannabis Protestival will take place on Saturday, May 9, at Syntagma Square in Athens.
According to the organizers’ Facebook page the last ten years of pro-legalization festivals and events have shown that the society is now ready for change. “We have sent any useful information to politicians so that they can make informed decisions,” giving an end to the struggle. “Now we open another chapter to the legislation of cannabis in Greece so that it can take a form suited to our civilization and culture, in regards to addiction and substance abuse treatment,” wrote the organizing team.
“Users are not criminals, but the implemented policies are criminal. The use and abuse of substances is not a matter of public policy, but a matter of public health. Pinning for the prohibition and repression of substances instead for prevention and treatment, shows support to corruption and organized crime. Drug prohibition has overstated the problem of substance abuse rather than solve it. We have not managed to reduce the demand, nor the supply of substances which are more abundant than ever.
Alternative decriminalization models have been tested in dozens of countries around the world and have provided positive results such as stabilization or reduction in the number of users, increase user’s age average, crime reduction, increased revenue from indirect and direct taxation, increase in job position and reduction of unemployment, better public health etc. Scientific facts and proven practices of other countries suggest that the prohibition and repression have failed. Unfortunately, Greek policies and legislations continue to be based on obsessions and moral panic.”
Finally, the organizers noted that it is important to legalize cannabis, particularly to help people suffering from serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or cancer, who are in dire need of treatment and the right medication for their condition. “It is criminal and inhumane to deprive patients and families their right to treatment with cannabis, which has been used since antiquity for therapeutic purposes, while there are hundreds of modern scientific studies supporting its effectiveness,” they concluded.