Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The case of Hemp-Info: Swiss Courts Corrupted by Chemicals

Last week the District Court of Morat, Switzerland, sentenced Cannabis agriculturist, André Fürst, the owner of Hemp-Info, to 29 months in prison and a fine of 150.000 Swiss francs (approx. 98.000 euros). Mr. Fürst’s "crime" was years of open and public development of agro-industrial ecological methods of hemp utilization, demonstrating realistic solutions to major environmental, economic, and social problems.

Unfortunately, a free market in Cannabis is an economic threat to the black market in drugs, and the corrupted political establishment, economically vested in chemical- and prison-based industries. After years of global activism and harrassment by Swiss authorities, André has finally become a casualty in the global "war on herbs" being orchestrated by the United States. The U.S. has been exerting its economic influence on Swiss drug policy for years, interfering with progressive development in a nation which has traditionally been politically independent.

The authorities in many Swiss states (cantons) were, until recently, applying a pragmatic and humanistic approach to drug policies. Now the Swiss authorities have begun a "witch hunt" of their own, caving into temptations of money and power the fruits of the bad example set by the U.S. "War on [Some] Drugs [and Herbs]."

For decades, the U.S. prohibition has proven to be invariably disastrous environmentally, economically and in its tragic consequences eroding fundamental human rights. Only by dismissing the fact that Cannabis is an "herb bearing seed" and categorizing the world’s most useful plant as a "drug" have the economically corrupted courts been able to usurp control over this unique and essential, strategic natural resource. The anti-natural precedent set by Cannabis prohibition is incalculably dangerous, because it unlawfully extends the legal jurisdiction of governments over people’s Natural rights, that are the original basis for those governments.

In the future, perhaps after the Natural Order has collapsed, beyond recovery, maybe the Swiss people will wake up to reclaim the role of social progressive, properly adjusting to local attitudes of tolerance. In the meantime, free market activists, supporting the god-given right to farm "every herb bearing seed," are under pressures from the corrupted judiciary, which is absolutely unworthy of any society claiming to be "democratic."

If the Swiss National Council had agreed to revise drug legislation as federal authorities had proposed, the case of Hemp-Info would have been dismissed. André Fürst offered Switzerland a future without farmer’s subsidies, that included a workable plan to protect Swiss youth from drug criminality, that disempowered the black market, and cut off a lucrative source of financing for international terrorism.

Fribourg justice, short-sighted and dogmatic, rejected all of André’s reasonable arguments, which are based on irrefutable scientific, political, sociological and economic evidence. The Fribourg judges have failed to uphold laws that protect the Swiss people’s collective interests. The judges in Fribourg have choosen instead to favor the wealthy corporate conglomerates, the parallel, chemically-based economy and the pervasive, hypocritical, pseudo-morality that is poisoning human society with "legal" drugs, while starving most of the world’s children.

In judging André Fürst a criminal, the judiciary is pushing all farmers in the direction of corporate control. People who are ill, that rely on the proven therapeutic properties of ’marijuana’ and other forbidden plants, will now be forced to seek their chosen herbal remedies amid the dangers of the black market, as before. Cannabis users are being forced by the courts to support organized crime, while risking their health in purchasing products of unknown purity and quality.

Besides the incalculable personal tragedies inflicted on the Swiss Cannabis culture, this policy will cause considerable harm to the whole of Swiss society, and the rest of the world. The inevitable, disasterous impacts of prohibition effect everyone.

All this is happening because a phytotherpeutic ("plant healing") herb, which is safer and more useful than either "legal" tobacco and alcohol, presents a threat to the pharmaceutical, petroleum, and other chemically-based multi-national industries in Switzerland and the U.S.. Hemp-Info demonstrated that Cannabis can be used to produce everything that is currently being made from petroleum and timber, using chemically intensive methods and anti-natural resources.

When criminal groups (like the Hell’s Angels and the Yakuza) take over the Swiss Cannabis market (as has already happened in Canada, Sweden, Hawaii, and other places), everybody will bitterly regret André Fürst’s conviction. The organic products and realistic, healthful control measures which he was prosecuted for pioneering will be looked back upon as visionary.

The judiciary authorities in Fribourg must be held accountable for their limited thinking leading to an illogical decision. By favoring policies which are proven to be counter-productive to society their decision is a direct threat to the integrity of the Swiss justice system.

As a result of inducing scarcity of herbal Cannabis, predictable increases in the use of dangerous chemical drugs (including alcohol, methamphetamines, crack, heroin, cocaine, and benzodiazepines) will certainly begin to plague Switzerland, just as they have infected the U.S. and other prohibitionist countries. Organized crime, increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, deteriorating economics, and a "drug war"-impoverished infrastructure will soon degrade the quality of life for all Swiss people.

In spite of Hemp-Info’s obvious determination to base their activities on Cannabis laws proposed and supported by Swiss federal and parliamentary committees, the Fribourg Court has advanced the repressive poliices advanced by the prosecution. In particular, the Fribourg Court failed to render a clear legal decision regarding the different methods of Cannabis analysis. The results of these tests can be so erratic that they can show THC levels, varying from 0.3% to 3.0% in the same sample of hemp. The Fribourg Court also refused to assess the legal juridiction of the THC standard established by French law.

This arbitrary measure is missing any proven scientific or agronomic basis and has no authority in regard to Swiss legislation. The Court inexplicably ignored the fact that hemp is an herb, not a "drug" and certainly not a "narcotic." This decision insults the Rule of Law and the spirit of authors of the drug legislation, by disregarding or changing established legal and historically relevant definitions.

As far as Hemp-Info has not received any response to these fundamental questions and because there are other critically compelling reasons to reject this sentence, André Fürst will continue his struggle for freedom to farm Cannabis and will register an appeal of this decision with the Cantonal Court of Fribourg.

If the people of the world recognise why this case is of pivotal importance to all of our freedoms and the quality of life on this planet, then perhaps there is still hope for reversing the symptoms of imbalance that have resulted from imposed essential resource scarcity. The years of agricultural development that André Fürst has shared with the world at the demonstration project called Hemp-Info, is too valuable to be lost in such a sad and meaningless miscarriage of justice.

Paul von Hartmann , a friend of Hemp-Info

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