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As Spain Celebrates Spannabis, UN Discusses International Legalization

The Lourve
Photo by Sena Cakiroglu

Politics

As Spain Celebrates Spannabis, UN Discusses International Legalization

Last weekend was fairly eventful for cannabis enthusiasts in Europe. Madrid and Malaga housed two different ExpoCannabis events.

Barcelona celebrated the 11th year anniversary of Spannabis, thought to be the world’s largest marijuana and hemp expo, with nearly 300,000 visitors in attendance. More than 1,800 professionals from 500 companies from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and China met in Spain to how off their wares—from seeds, fertilizers, vaporizers, dispensers, to pipes, cigarette papers, t-shirts, candies and accessories.

There was a complete carnival feel for the cannabis users; a DJ mixed reggae beats for a Spanish rapper, visitors enjoyed cannabis-infused beers with lots of snack options and the outdoor scene of the fair with lots of vendors playing games and music.

I was struck by the high-tech scene at the fair this year – digital vaporizers, cloning kits, bug detectors, thermal shields, pH testing kits, grow cabinets and LED night lights.

On the same weekend of the Spannabis fair, The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD) appeared in Vienna for the 57th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Every year authorities meet to discuss the prohibition of cannabis, coca leaves and opium. This year, the summit resulted in mixed feelings. Several Latin American countries called for a need to reconsider the traditional interpretation of the three UN drug conventions. This approach was expected, given the legalization of cannabis in Uruguay and some US states.  However, countries like Sweden, Japan and Russia were said to be uncompromising and more time will be needed to reach a consensus.

Still, ENCOD sees the outcome to their advantage.  There are now more countries open for debate for regulation.  More importantly, regulation for the sake of protecting people and societies from the damages of drugs and drug trafficking is now on the agenda.  .

‘’Everybody in the world is affected by prohibition. Prohibition assures the survival of the giant monster that is drug trafficking and money laundering, international criminal organizations that gain billions and billions of dollars. The United Nations estimates about $400 billion per year that is going into the hands of international crime. And crime finances corruption, finances terrorism, finances all kinds of criminal activities that affects everybody’’ said the coordinator of ENCOD, Joep Oomen in an interview in Vienna.

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