Letter of OSLIK supporting André Fürst
September 26, 2005
OSLIK - The civil association for legal cannabis Opletalova 19, 11000 Praha 1 Czech Republic
His Excellency Jean-François Kammer Ambassador of Switzerland to the Czech Republic Velvyslanectví Švýcarska - Embassy of Switzerland Pevnostní 9 16201 Praha 6 Czech Republic
* * * *
According to media reports, the District Court of Morat have unconditionally sentenced Mr. André Fürst, owner of Chanvre-Info, to 29 months of prison for the activities connected to his involvement in the promotion and the culture of hemp. Mr. Fürst is known and generally respected for his work on the development of new hemp harvesting and processing methods and in the field of general information on hemp provided by his highly rated internet website www.chanvre-info.ch. He seems to be a victim of a recent incomprehensible reversal in the Swiss cannabis policy while its liberalisation is requested by a grass-root movement disposing already with 125.000 signatures.
André Fürst’s last campaign connected to hemp could give you a hint on his social integrity and humanist attitudes: he is promoting the use of vegetal oils (including the hempseed oil) for heating purposes, as mineral fuel prices are on the rise. He carried out a number of tests proving that mixing 30% of vegetal oils into the domestic fuel oil would not impair commonly used furnaces and would result in considerably lower prices of heating, which would certainly bring a great relief to less wealthy Swiss families. Would a drug dealer waste his time on finding a solution to this kind of social issues?
The long Swiss process of elaboration of an efficient strategy could be considered as a model of expert approach and reconciliation. The majority of cantons were applying a preemptory tolerant policy towards users, hundreds of hemp shops and hemp producers. A popular initiative collecting signatures for the ballot on cannabis liberalization is currently coming to its end. It has gathered already over 100 000 signatures needed, which means that Swiss citizens will sooner or later get the possibility to express their opinion on this matter. It is obvious that an important proportion of the Swiss society is rejecting cannabis repression and prohibition. This opinion is shared not only by the wide public, but also by all scientific or politic commissions, Federal Council and even the Parliament, which approved in the first lecture the new approach of depenalization of the consumption and regulation of the market. So why are you now denying yourself and returning back to the brutal repression? Such an injustice as the one committed against Mr. Fürst is tainting the exemplary image of Swiss democracy.
We, the citizens of Czech Republic organized in the Civic Association for Legal Cannabis, consider as merely shocking the fact that someone might be sentenced to such a high unconditional sentence for the promotion and the culture of biological hemp with multiple usages, which could be very useful either in order to help agriculture to become free of subsidies, or for the regulation of great social problems and for an appropriate response to the threat of global heating.
There is strong support for cannabis legalisation among citizens of the Czech Republic - and many people living in our country usually consider marijuana growing, possession and smoking to be only a relatively minor offence. We have always been regarding Switzerland as a country that could set an example of democracy and rational drug policy to other countries in Europe. Now we are rather confused about it, because the unconditional sentence of 29 months of prison seems to us to be totally absurd and absolutely unacceptable in a democratic country of 21st century. We are concerned about André Fürst ’s fate.
We apologise for consuming your time and patience should our concern be found to be based on inaccurate information or incorrect interpretation of facts.
Chairman of the Civic Association for Legal Cannabis OSLIK