Tunisian activists contact for regulating cannabis production, distribution

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TUNIS, Tunisia — The Coalition for Legalizing Cannabis, a civil coalition of young activists, announced Feb. 23 at a press conference in Tunis that it is functioning on a bill aimed at legalizing the production and consumption of cannabis in Tunisia. Function on the project is ongoing and consultations with parliamentarians is nevertheless underway in order to locate a legal formula that is acceptable to all parties.

The coalition stated that it is consulting with parliamentarians to create legal frameworks for the production and consumption of cannabis, below which the state would reverse the sole correct to generate and distribute cannabis, as properly as that it would be entrusted with monitoring and regulation.

Chapter two of the Law on Narcotic Drugs of Might 18, 1992, strictly prohibits the cultivation, consumption, production, promotion, harvesting, possession, acquisition, transfer or promotion of narcotic plants.

Qais bin Halima, a member of the coalition, told Al-Monitor that the legislative initiative contains a proposal to establish a subsidiary to the state, comparable to a tobacco or alcohol organization, which would be in charge of creating and advertising cannabis.

He explained that legalizing cannabis and placing it below the state’s handle would lower its consumption by controlling distribution routes, and would deliver the state big economic returns, provided the higher quantity of customers who now acquire it illegally.

Halima stated that the bill to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis was not only restricted to discussing the situation in the parliament, but he, along with some youths, founded a movement named the Paper Celebration to run in the Oct. six legislative elections, and they are preparing to include things like the bill in its electoral plan.

He noted that this youth movement, which he heads, is in the approach of actively mobilizing hundreds of young Tunisians through social media, with the aim of establishing regional offices in order to prepare for the elections by means of a political and financial plan primarily based on the notion of enacting a law to legalize cannabis, setting legal frameworks and an institution to straight oversee it below state handle.

Halima added that representatives of the Paper Celebration in Tunisia and abroad in Dubai, Kuwait, Germany, the United States, Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom and France have been campaigning to market the celebration plan and the legalization of cannabis.

He stated that a heavy cannabis user is not a criminal but an addict who need to be treated, and that the correct location to treat customers are addiction clinics, not prisons. He called on the state and parliament to positively respond to his initiative.

Halima defended the moderate consumption of cannabis, which he said does not count as addiction, stressing that his initiative aims to lower the phenomenon of addiction, in particular amongst the youth by organizing channels of production and distribution and placing an finish to illegal distribution of this drug.

On March six, speaking to Radio IFM, Ennahda movement leader Lotfi Zeitoun named for legalizing cannabis by means of state intervention and monitoring of the distribution channels. He stressed that this resolution, inspired by Western experiences such as the one particular in Uruguay, would lower the consumption of this substance amongst young people today.

On April 25, 2017, the Tunisian parliament ratified the revision of Chapter 12 of the Law on Narcotic Drugs to abolish prison sentences for initially-time customers of cannabis, in particular students.

Chapter 12 of Law No. 52 of 1992 on Narcotic Drugs stated that drug offenses are topic to the provisions of Chapter 53 of the Criminal Code, which contains harsh prison sentences.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi announced throughout a TV interview on March 20, 2017, that he had refused to impose prison sentences against cannabis customers, in particular on new users. He resorted to his common pardon powers to approve the release of some initially-time customers from prison.

On Dec. 10, 2014, in an open dialogue with a group of young civil society activists from across the nation, Essebsi had promised in his electoral campaign to abolish prison sentences for initially-time cannabis customers need to he win. He lived up to his guarantee.

In Tunisia, there are no official figures for the quantity of cannabis customers except for research by civil associations. In October 2017, head of the Tunisian Society of Addiction Nabil Ben Salah told Radio Jawhara that about 400,000 Tunisians consumed cannabis in 2017.

About 20% of Tunisians endure from addiction of all sorts, be it injecting drugs, employing cannabis, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, Ben Salah stated.



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