This is the eighth and the last planned Legalize Belarus landing. Lecture on the War on Drugs and hate speech towards drug users and people with addiction disorders took place in the Beatles Club in Viciebsk, the northern capital of Belarus.
On 17 February 2018, the day before local election day, Legalize Belarus activists organised the first picket for decriminalisation of small amounts of controlled substances. The picket was held in the centre of Minsk, near Kastryčnickaja płošča. Activists brought a provocative banner, showing that simplifying a position towards current drug policy leads to appalling consequences.
Soon after the first trial on Piotr Markiełaŭ for organisation of Hemp Kaliada, when the case was sent back to police department, 4 Legalize Belarus activists received subpoenas. All four (Piotr Markiełaŭ, Stas Šašok, Michaś Varancoŭ and Julija Švabovič) were accused of participating in an unauthorised meeting.
Updated March 15, 2020 to reflect the changes made in the Criminal Code in 2019.
How the war on drugs was declared in Belarus – and what came out of it. In Belarus, from three to four thousand people, mostly youth under 30, are sentenced for "illicit drug trafficking" yearly. Political Critique tried to find out whether the authoritarian government is effective in its crusade against prohibited substances.
Oversimplifying and low awareness about psychoactive substances and addictive disorders lead to massive violations of human rights in Belarus, that have become socially acceptable. Thousands of people convicted for victimless crimes, but people easily turn away from the problem with the phrase "I'm against drugs". Responsible attitude towards drugs and its consumers requires information. Responsible journalism requires to stop calling drugs "en evil" and simplify complex phenomena. The memo (in Belarusian) was presented in Minsk on 29 January 2018.
Kaliada is an old Belarusian tradition when people dress up in magical creatures and go through the village singing songs. During the event in Minsk participants played board games, exchanged Christmas gifts, tasted food made of cannabis (without psychoactive substances). People were signing the petition for legislation reform and sending postcards to drug convicts. We made several "hemp stars", referring to traditional Kaliada stars.
Legalize Belarus landed in Bieraście! We never had such a deep and meaningful discussion. Artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, school teachers, doctors and students spoke out. Everyone expressed oneself and brought to the conversation.
The civilised world is moving fast to legalize, or at least decriminalize, cannabinoids. Meanwhile in Belarus, owning just 1 gram of Marijuana can get you 2 years in prison — which practically means up to 8 years. This is how the Belarusian drug policy is failing the people of Belarus.
Another "End the Drug War" meeting was held in Mahiloŭ, third-large Belarusian city. One day before the event, the venue cancelled the booking because of "negative attitude towards drugs". Though another place to organise the discussion was found, it affected the number of participants.