Catalan Young Greens on Marijuana Legalization

As Young Greens, we often get the reputation of being a bunch of teenagers who like get high and talk politics. Despite that this is largely an incorrect stereotype for many Young Greens across the world, it does speak true about one point. It has long been Green parties and their youth counterparts that have lobbied for the legalization of marijuana. While this is a cornerstone for some groups in Europe, its not so celebrated in others. So the Ecosprinter asked Young Green groups across Europe to get an overview of who is fighting for marijuana legalization across the continent.

Answered by Marc Martorell Escofet from the Catalan Young Greens

  1. What is the Catalan Young Green’s position on the legalization of marijuana?

We stand for a non-penal legalization of all drugs, not only for a legalization of marijuana. We consider that the citizenship has to be well informed –with complete, objective information- of all drugs’ effects, and that can only be done using institutional power.

We propose the decriminalization of all drugs. It would mean the demise of the “mafia”, the eradication of marginalisation resulting from the ban and the regulation of sales and quality of these substances, as well as it would facilitate social and medical control to drug addicts. We demand the right of the individual to free use and enjoyment of her or his own body, and appeal to the right to information and education for responsible consumption.

  1. How did you get to this conclusion?

We had a deep discussion about this issue and we have a clear position since 2007. We consider that only with the spreading of the knowledge about drug effects will allow our entire society to avoid the drug trafficking and associated diseases. Only the legalization of drugs such as marijuana will allow us to build a new, fairer and safer society. And that is not an utopian thought: there are countries in South America that are leading the change in the regulations. Even in Europe we can find examples like that we are proposing: Portugal in 2001.

  1. Is your position different than the Green party in Catalonia?

No, both organisations agree with our positions. Actually, we campaigned for legalisation of marijuana and other drugs since the very beginning. For instance, we campaigned for it in the last Catalan elections back in 2012 or in the last European elections, where we defended –together- cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) to spread the complete and objective information for all European citizenship.

  1. What role do you think the Greens will play in the public debate in Catalonia about marijuana legalization?

We think that our role in the public debate is to spread the message of a no-criminalization of those who want to consume marijuana, either for their own pleasure or for therapeutic reasons. And, of course, we will want to promote its legalization, because it is a citizenship call. We have already defended it when we sit down in the Internal Affairs back in 2007, where a coalition of centre-left parties were in the government (but we could not do anything for criticism by right parties and the silence of our governmental allies).

  1. How do you think this policy makes sense given Catalonian history?

We think the Left Greens position has a perfect sense given the social reality in Catalonia, especially in marijuana legalization. In legal terms, and since democracy was restored in 1978, marijuana’s consumation is tolerated at minimum levels, although growing it for “trafficking” is punished by 1-3 years in prison or high fines. Despite this fact, there are lots of local organisations, “marijuana clubs”, that offers those who want to consume marijuana by their own an alternative way to find safe products.

So there is a growing public opinion in favour of marijuana legalization, although the efforts of right-minded policies that rule the legal system nowadays and allows the police to close those clubs (since August 2014 there have been closed 45 of 145 marijuana clubs in Barcelona).

We Young Left Greens will be fighting with these civil demands of legalization and, especially, we will be continuing the fight against the criminalization of young people that want to consume safer, cleaner and legal marijuana.