Public discussion of cannabis legalisation has leaped to a new high in Austria after the neoliberal newcomer in parliament, the Neos party, has voted to push the issue at its annual general meeting last weekend.
Party chairman Mat(thias) Strolz, who was first surprised that his economy oriented party showed a majority interest in cannabis, came out after a two day hiatus, fully supporting the decison.
"We support self responsibility and liberty. Legalisation makes sense", said Strolz in a first statement on Tuesday. Recommending a step-by-step plicy towards legalisation, the Neos fully support "grow your own" as a first move that would especially benefit Austria’s legion of cannabis patients who nurture their medicine in grow closets at home. A next step towards regulation may be the distribution via pharmacies, Strolz said further, lifting the spirits of tens of thousands currently criminalised cannabis patients who still face jail if they get caught with their medicine of choice.
"Decriminalisation would immediately benefit one in 8 Austrians. It is estimated 500,000 Austrians light up regularly and another 500,000 occasionally", said Toni Straka, chairman of the Hanf-Institut (Austria).
The Neos are the first party to officially jump the legalization bandwagon after a first parliamentary citizens initiative to unhinge cannabis from current drug laws. With so far almost 27,000 signatories the initiative jumped into third place of the most successful citizens activism in Austria’s history.
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