Fields of Green for ALL was honoured to be invited to the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP) held in Heemskerk, The Netherlands, last week. We joined 60 farmers and their representatives from 14 countries in a 13th century castle for 3 days of intense dialogue and shared experiences. All present were concerned with the dire consequences of the prohibition of the Coca Leaf, the Opium Poppy and the Cannabis Plant. More info and great pics on the GFPPP Facebook page.
The outcome of the forum is contained with The Heemskerk Declaration and this is a seminal document outlining the plight and demands of farmers affected by the failed “war on drugs”. Our discussion groups were guided by researchers and facilitators from the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the process was democratic and flawless, especially given the number of languages and cultures present at the forum. We were divided into groups and given themes and questions to guide the process. The main themes dealt with were:
Forced Crop Eradication
Traditional and Medicinal Uses
Sustainable Rural Development and Political Economy
Drugs & Conflict
In preparation for this forum, we compiled a comprehensive report on Forced Crop Eradication in South Africa, our main concern with regards farmers in our country. Our police use the international conventions as an excuse for the continued poisoning of our land and its citizens with glyphosate sprayed from helicopters. Many of you will have seen our short documentary from February 2015 “Police in Helicopters”. South Africa is the only country which still uses aerial spraying for illicit crop eradication.
This is an issue that needs to be shouted about, louder and louder. With the help of an Eastern Cape environmental attorney, Fields of Green for ALL have joined with other organisations in the area to begin the legal process of holding the SAPS to account for their actions. You can read the letter here and we will inform everyone of the progress of our communication.
Myrtle & Green Network member, Dr Marlon Germon, will attend RUN2016, a conference on drug policy that is part of South African Drug Policy Week to be held in Cape Town from 1 – 4 Feb. We have been given the opportunity to speak at a dedicated Cannabis side event and Myrtle will address the forced eradication issue as well giving feedback from the GFPPP and an outline of The Trial of the Plant.
It is imperative that we make our voices heard ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) to be held in New York in April 2016. The Trial of the Plant remains the only way to force our government to hear the TRUTH about Cannabis but we will find ourselves at a crossroads when it comes to actually changing the law. This is the job of the government and now is the time to engage with policy makers from all over the world to make sure that we map the road ahead very carefully.
These are exciting times and we know that we would not have got this far had it not been for the amazing support we have from each and every member of South Africa’s Cannabis Community. We have also been working very hard at cementing relations with activists and organisations from around the world and this hard work is starting to pay off. Looking forward to a VERY exciting year ahead!