Lithuania rings a bell – “Reform of the Psychoactive Substances: Support, don’t Punish” Conference has started in Vilnius

The aim of the Conference is to show the overall drug policy situation in the international context and how it affects people, who use drugs; to provide to the audience the historical context that led Czech Republic and Norway to the decision of decriminalizing drug use and possession for use; to teach and share with Lithuanian legislators best practices of the drug policy reforms, by giving more international expertise.

In 2017, Lithuania criminalized all psychoactive substances, which affected more than 2000 people (2000 new cases are started to investigate, over half of them against young people, age 18-29 for small amounts of psychoactive substances). Government and Parliament of Lithuania are doing nothing towards it and they don’t listen to civil society voice. But it seems that the Parliament members are more likely to listen to international experts. That is why, Young people, who use drugs organization “Young Wave” (Lithuania), “Green Blossom Association” (Lithuania), Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, Prof. dr. Jokubas Ziburkus (Lithuania), Ausrine Armonaite Parliament member (Lithuania) organized this conference.

“We want to invite few professionals, who would prove, that war on drugs doesn’t work and punishment doesn’t serve as a good “weapon”, to change persons behavior. And we expect that Lithuanian Parliament and Government members, Law enforcement bodies representatives, as well as public media representatives, community and NGO’s representatives will hear the voices of these people and will make an input for changes in our country.” – Eliza Kurcevič, Membership and Program Officer, EHRA.

The Conference consists of two parts: one on the decriminalization of all substances and another one about medical cannabis, second part is aiming to give the objective information about medical cannabis and why Lithuanian Parliament decision on medical cannabis law should not be called “Medical Cannabis”; as well, to explain what and shy should be done, to have medical cannabis in Lithuania.

“We stress on the fact that politicians have to assume responsibility. We’ve waisted so many ears, we shouldn’t wait longer.” – Ausrine Armonaite, Parliament member (Lithuania).