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WHY LEGALIZE BELARUS

Legalize Belarus

Today more than 15000 Belarusians are imprisoned for drug-related crimes. Most of these people are young drug users caught with 1-2 g of marijuana smoking with their friends. They are being deprived of their liberty for 5-8 years. In terrible condition prisons they are humiliated by staff and other convicts and forced to physical unpaid labour for the state.

The law does not differentiate penalties for possession of drugs by amount or type of the substance. Moreover, possession of 5 g of marijuana can already be considered as “intention to distribute” and judged accordingly. While major drug dealers and state officials taking part in distribution remain at large, consumers and minor street distributors are imprisoned on inadequate terms.

The policy of prohibition has led to widespread use of highly potent and extremely dangerous synthetic cannabinoids, also known as “spices” or “K2”. Neither medical nor industrial use of marijuana is in any way legalized in Belarus.

OUR GOALS

Civic education

Educating people about psychoactive substances and evidence-based approach to drug policy

Advocacy

Advocating for abolition of criminal prosecution for possession and trafficking of controlled substances in small amounts

Support

Legally and psychologically supporting people subjected to criminal prosecution, drug convicts and their relatives

WHAT WE DO

  • 15
    Researching 06/2018

    How do Belarusian youth feel about cannabis? Poll results

    Legalize Belarus conducted a poll on how people in Belarus feel about cannabis and its regulation. Results show that, comparatively, women, people under age of 18 and people living in rural regions require more education about psychoactive substances and addiction disorders. Men, people aged 27-34, inhabitants of big cities and people who know at least one foreign language are most loyal to cannabis and its users. Read full report (in Belarusian) for more.
  • 04
    Facing authoritarianism 06/2018

    Piotr Markiełaŭ spent 3 days arrested for a fake protest against legalize.by website blocking

    On 31 May Piotr Markiełaŭ posted a fake picture with him holding a sign saying "Block 86.57.250.202", where the IP address stands for mvd.gov.by server (MIA website). Next day a police officer, Siarhiej Astafjeŭ called Piotr and invited him "for a talk". That talk lasted for 74 hours. Piotr was jailed in a temporary prison of inhumane detention conditions. On the second day of arrest a young person was put in Piotr's cell. That lad 2 days in row smoked hash from a pipette. We believe, he was a MIA agent.
  • 20
    Taking a break 05/2018

    “Mothers 328” stopped the hunger strike

    24 women took part in the protest. None of the goals was reached. Several mothers made significant damage to their health. Nevertheless, the action was not useless. It increased awareness about problem in society and contributed to public discussion of the current drug policy in Belarus.
  • 17
    Feedback from the top 05/2018

    Legalize.by website blocked in Belarus

    Legalize Belarus website (https://legalize.by) was blocked on 17 May in Belarus by decision of the Minister of Information. In the official notification "propaganda of marijuana use" was mentioned as a reason. The decision was made after the Ministry of Information received a letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is the most influential organisation in the country, and the only one standing for keeping the law unchanged.
  • 11
    Government throws a bone 05/2018

    The Council of Ministers passed a law project to the Parliament

    In the project, a little change in 328 Article is introduced. They suggest that the lower prison term under parts 2 and 3 of Article 328 is decreased for 2 years: 3 years minimum instead of 5 for part 2 and 6 years minimum for part of the article. In every part of the article imprisonment comes with (by decision of the court) a fine (instead of confiscation of property as outlined in the current version of Article 328). This change will have no effect on the situation, or even can make it worse, as after it is passed, the government will be able to claim fines from the people that had nothing to confiscate from. Criminal cases under Article 328 will not be reviewed. Explore the law project (in Russian).
  • 07
    Raising awareness 05/2018

    Women’s Hunger Strike in Belarus Protests Harsh Anti-Marijuana Laws

    Belarus’ penal code has no distinction between categories of drugs, meaning possession of cannabis and heroin are prosecuted with the same penalties. According to Legalize Belarus, a youth-led campaign to end Belarus’ drug war, more than 15,000 people have been imprisoned for drug-related crimes, many for minor cannabis possession resulting in five- to eight-year prison sentences. Read more on marijuana.com.
  • 02
    Raising awareness 05/2018

    Piotr Markiełaŭ for Drug Reporter

    Brave young people had enough of harsh drug laws in Belarus and fight back. They found allies in the mothers of drug convicts, who went on hunger strike to demand an end to the war on their sons. Read a Drug Reporter interview with a youth activist, Piotr Markiełaŭ.
  • 25
    Facing authoritarianism 04/2018

    Stas Šašok fined €250 for the photographing near Parliament

    Stas Šašok was fined 250 EUR for the action with letters of the word "decriminalisation" in front of the Parliament building in Minsk on 2 April. This is the 4th fine, making the price for 1-minute photographing equal to 2 days in prison and 900 EUR fine for 4 activists.
  • 24
    Taking the plunge 04/2018

    “Mothers 328” started a hunger strike

    On 24 April a group of mothers of people convicted under Article 328 started a hunger strike. They insisted on a meeting with the president Łukašenka as they believed he “does not have the information on the situation”. Protesters demanded a change in Article 328 and creating a commission to review criminal cases of their children.
  • 20
    Expressing international solidarity 04/2018

    Do you want to live like we do? Legalize Belarus went to Vilnius

    On 4/20 a group of Legalize Belarus activists went to Vilnius to take part in a manifestation dedicated to cannabis and drug policy in Lithiania, which, along with the Belarusian, remains one of the most harsh in Europe. They were hanging a banner, showing that strict drug regulation is a way to rigid authoritarianism in other aspects on life.

OUR TEAM

One should not underestimate the social damage caused by the war on drugs started in the US. Belarus had not become the first democracy, education or industry in the region. Let us be the first in at least something.

Piotr Markiełaŭ

Communications manager, Civic movement "Dzieja"

Every human is born free. Nobody can tell me what to use. I have the right for my body. Let me be responsible, no nanny needed for me!

Stanisłaŭ Šašok

Musician. Lawyer

People are lacking objective information about drugs. This leads to irresponsible and uncontrolled use of dangerous substances. It can be prevented by open discussion and drug education.

Ksienija Tarasievič

Journalist. National coordinator, Students For Liberty Belarus

If you know how to use psychedelics, it is a true treasure. They must not be illegal. Instead, we should spread the fair scientific knowledge about them.

Michaś Varancoŭ

Software developer, Itransition

I do not call people to smoke marijuana. I call on being responsible. Life can be happy without drugs. Cannabis is used in medicine — that is why I’m against the prohibition.

Maksim Kavaloŭ

Pastor. Lawyer

Potential to use some psychoactive substances in therapy is incomparably high. We should not refuse this.

Alina Nahornaja

Psychologist. Programme manager, Civic movement "Dzieja"

Governments around the world fight against drugs. But they even don’t know what is it. They firstly need to understand the nature of the phenomenon in order to control it.

Jahor Viniacki

Content manager, Freelancer

CONTACT US

E-mail: info@legalizebelarus.org
Tel.: +375 292977360
Facebook: @LegalizeBelarus
Vk: @LegalizeBelarus
Telegram: @LegalizeBelarus

Please, contact us for any reason using one of the indicated methods.

We’ll try to give you a response as soon as possible.

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