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  1. TheBigBadWolf
    During the last few months in Poland, cannabis has been receiving a good deal of attention. This is a result of a few events - both positive and negative - which have placed the issue of cannabis regulation in the mainstream media limelight.

    Cannabis Activist Arrested

    Last month, on Easter Monday, the case of Jakub Gajewski, an activist from Wolne Konopie, was probably the fastest-spreading story among drug policy activists and others in Poland who take an interest in this subject. Jakub was arrested and charged with intra-EU acquisition of psychoactive substances in significant quantities, for which the statutory penalty is up to 15 years' imprisonment. The controversial aspect of the case, is that he was caught with 900 grams of Rick Simpson Oil, which he had been delivering, risking his freedom, to people willing to use it for treatment.

    Cannabis Heals

    As a result of this situation, a march was organized in Warsaw, on April 20, under the slogan “Free the accused! End cannabis repression!”. Medical marijuana patients began to speak out openly about the benefits they had experienced. The most involved and supporting person in this movement is the mother of a five-year-old boy, who was the first child in Poland known to have benefited from treatment with medical marijuana for epilepsy. In the last few months, nine children in the Children’s Memorial Health Institute have begun treatment with medical cannabis treatment, for medicine-resistant epilepsy. Marek Bachański, the doctor responsible for supervising this treatment, says that the number of seizures have in some cases decreased by as much as 90%, following the introduction of cannabis treatment.

    On May 6th 2015, another man, suffering from a rare disease, was sentenced to a year's imprisonment suspended for two years, and a fine. He had been charged with the production of significant quantities of cannabis (he had three plants in his house), and could have faced a prison term of between three and fifteen years, under the terms of the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction. The actual sentence imposed was relatively mild, considering the statutory penalty. Nevertheless, one might question whether - especially from a human rights perspective - criminal punishment is an appropriate reaction by the state towards someone seeking to be cured of an illness. What makes the situation of even greater concern, was that the judge, in his summing-up, suggested that if the man wanted to continue treatment, he should perhaps move to a different country.

    Medical cannabis in the law

    Many countries around the world are starting to relax their laws in relation to cannabis, especially cannabis for medical purposes, and yet it is still not legal in Poland. Children in the Children’s Memorial Health Institute can be treated with it, thanks to the existence of a procedure for so-called 'direct import'. It should be emphasised that this is a very complicated procedure, often taking months to complete. Firstly, the doctor supervising the patient has to submit an application. This is in itself problematic, since in Poland not only cannabis, but even medicines like morphine are demonised, and there are very few physicians willing to undertake such unconventional treatment procedures. Second, the decision is made by the Ministry of Health, which has the final say about approving direct imports. As a result of drug-hostile attitudes, between 2012 and 2015, only thirteen approvals were issued for direct import of medical marijuana. Moreover, the cost of such medicines, even if approved, is very high – approximately 650-900 Euro per month, depending on the region. On the other hand, back in November 2014, the Constitutional Court in its decision stated the “desirability of legislative action to regulate the issue of medical use of cannabis”. At the same time, it emphasised that cannabis should be available for medical use, in the light of best contemporary medical knowledge, and that this is not possible because of faults in the Polish legal regulations concerning psychoactive substances. Since that decision, the Polish Parliament has taken no action to implement it and change the regulations. Even worse, a law was recently adopted, which included the stems and leaves of a plant in the definition of “marijuana”.

    Cannabis kills?

    In March 2015, there was a lot of coverage, in the mainstream media, of the death of a 19-year old, who choked to death on a small package containing 1 gram of marijuana. The young man had cannabis in his possession when he noticed a police patrol. He tried to run away, but the police officers followed him. In the meantime - apparently out of fear of arrest - the boy tried to swallow the small package. Officers caught up with him up, brought him to the ground, and, according to statements from witnesses, tried to take out the cannabis from his throat using force. As a result, the young man died. A peaceful memorial march by several hundred people degenerated into a two-day street fight with the police. In a current affairs program on one of the major TV stations, a right-wing politician stubbornly repeated that the Polish anti-drugs law is a very good one. In his view, all that was required was for the boy to stop, get arrested, plead guilty and wait for the prosecutor to suspend further action, under the provisions of Article 62a of the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction. He was deaf to the argument that only a very small fraction of such cases are ever suspended. He didn’t want to hear that arrest is in itself a traumatic experience; he wouldn’t even accept that in such situation, people are not necessarily going to act rationally - being influenced by fear and instinct. For him, this case was evidence that cannabis kills. For me, as well as for many other people concerned about this situation, it is evidence that Prohibition kills.

    In writing this article I was using the following Polish sources :

    http://www.cannabisnews.pl/

    http://www.pap.pl/

    http://www.tvn24.pl/

    http://www.tvp.info/

    http://wyborcza.pl/

    Iga Jeziorska, may 26, on http://drogriporter.hu/

Comments

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    [imgr=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=44743&stc=1&d=1434954497[/imgr]STATEMENT BY JAKUB GAJEWSKI CONCERNING HIS ARREST FOR CANNABIS OIL



    Interest aroused by my case makes me feel obliged to explain matters that raised media attention which address me with numerous questions.

    Unfortunately I have to refuse answering questions concerning my case – trial proceedings are confidential and disclosure of information related to the investigation may cause additional criminal responsibility also may result in detention in case of recognizing such behavior as „obstructing the proceedings”.

    So I am unable to answer questions about the subject of the allegation and the circumstances of the occurrence, I will not divulge the content of my clarification, or even whether, and to what I have admitted. I submitted myself to law enforcement freely in order to clarify the situation after arrests were made to other people, who are close to me. I have absolutely no complaints to the officers conducting the proceedings, neither to Mrs. prosecutor nor to Mr. Judge. All individuals behaved very professionally, respected the provisions and principles of good manners. All people held on Holy Thursday are no longer under arrest

    Without a doubt arresting vice-president of the Free Hemp Society (Wolne Konopie) Association, who is a public figure fighting openly for the legalization of cannabis use primarily for medical purpose results in greater publicity than arresting anonymous, proverbial “John Smith”
    This publicity also gives the effect of the effective escalation of fright in patients and loved ones who fear a repeat of the scenario in their case and are terrified of prospect of putting them at risk of allegations for crimes punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 15 years.

    I do not prejudge, nor claim that the genesis of my case is political.

    I do not know that. But I could think so after the recent media events related to the fight for medical marijuana.

    There is no doubt, however, that patients and their families and friends, who provide them with help are actually at risk of criminal liability unless unconstitutional provisions of the Law on Counteracting Drug Addiction will not change.

    What happened to me – can at any time happen to thousands of patients using RSO oil therapy, especially patients suffering from neurological disorders, using substances derived from cannabis in other form than oil, forms of which are dozens, if not hundreds of thousands of … (tu chodzi o liczbę pacjentów czy o liczbę form konopii? Bo to zdanie mówi o liczbie form, a nie wiem czy taki był zamiar, napisz mi, jeśli chodzi o ludzi)

    In the event of arrest of one of the anonymous patient or his close one, this fact will not be publicized by the media and social network, as my case is.

    It is because of my case, which concerns the rights of patients and their risk of criminal liability media want to talk. And so the information about the so-called. „Medical marijuana underground” penetrates to a wide audience.

    Politicians constructing criminal law, which result in severe punishment for terminally ill patients and their loved ones who help them, shall know from personal experience that in the perspective of the terrible, full of suffering death of a loved one, one wants to swap places with the patient and is ready to ” sell one’s soul to the devil” to save close one life, or at least one tries to relieve them from suffering. Real humans, able to love, capable of empathy, sensitive and even those with a high sense of morality – will not stop at nothing to save the health and lives of loved ones. Health and life is and the greatest value and the biggest good, even criminal regulations consider the health and lives of people as the greatest good. No wonder that in the event of family tragedy which is, for example, drug resistant and chemo resistant malignant neoplasm – exposing themselves to criminal responsibility, people reach for banned substances in our country – which legally are treating people in other countries, as well as in Poland under the experimental therapy and medical experiments, to which, unfortunately, enters limited number of lucky ones.

    How to evaluate a system that requires its officers to prosecute and punish people saving, by elsewhere legal medicine, the life of their loved ones?

    What is the degree of social harm of such an act? To whom such behavior threatens? Wallets of pharmaceutical companies and related big financial interests for sure. But social risk is none.

    I do not feel that I did something wrong, I do not accept sanctioning acts in conformity with the moral duty to save the life and health with a legal drug in other countries. I have a sense of injustice and resentment to legislators for the fact that this situation has been going on for so many years. Not just me – also those several thousands of patients and tens of thousands of members of their families and their friends who live under constant threat of detention and punishment and deprivation of their medicine.

    Even the US government confirms the therapeutic effects of the substances contained in cannabis, medicament which before the age of ‘drug phobia’ has been used in human and veterinary medicine for thousands of years. Having fewer side effects and being less harmful than other drugs or so called „nutritional supplements” available in pharmacies and grocery stores.

    I am grateful to the patients and their families for their support and for the voices solidarity with me, also for the brave „coming out” of the people who were not able to take to continue living feeling constant oppressions.

    I am thankful to my wonderful fiancée, friends, family, lawyers and strangers – for their support and their help and probably countless words of encouragement.

    But I ask for even bigger support – not only for myself, but for us, for the tens of thousands of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters, and friends of the terminally ill.

    Because my case is not only one of tens of thousands of drug related cases which annually get to the Polish courts. This case has become the first open battle between citizens and the system! And the response we have met with shows that we have a chance to win the health and lives of our loved ones and lead to changes in legislation as requested the Constitutional Court.

    Join the changes!

    Jakub Gajewski, 20 April 2015 on http://wolnekonopie.org (Polish 'Free Hemp' Organisation site) Photo (c) via wolnekonopje.org
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