Drugs are illegal in Poland. It is even illegal to smoke weed at home for personal consumption. This leads to thousands of arrests every year and wasted police manpower which could be used elsewhere. Personal consumption is a personal decision and is a victimless crime. The Polish government spend hundreds of millions every year fighting drugs ineffectively, so is it time that we started to legalize drugs? We spoke to Przemysław Zawadzki in Warsaw who is a libertarian and defies the authorities by openly growing his own marijuana. He believes in personal freedoms so much that he is prepared to go to jail for it.
So you would like to legalize drugs?
It’s a victimless thing to do. It doesn’t hurt other people. They decide themselves if they want to get involved in smoking weed for example. It’s not like murder where there is a victim who doesn’t want to be killed or a drunk driver who crashes into someone and kills them. Statistics also show that a restrictive drug policy is not effective. In Poland, the problem of drug addiction is not less than countries with liberal drug laws.
Portugal decriminalized drugs 16 years ago for personal use. They used to have big problems with drugs and since then the problem has been reduced big time! At the same time, Poland tightened the drug law 16 years ago and the problem has got a lot worse today!
What do you mean?
Did you know in Poland if a policeman catches one spliff on you then you get taken to the police station and arrested? That’s crazy and a big waste of time for the police.
You say in Portugal drugs have been decriminalized. What is the difference between decriminalized and legalized?
Decriminalized just means that the police won’t arrest you for possessing drugs for personal use. You still buy the drugs from a drug dealer who is selling drugs illegally. When you legalize a drug then you can buy them in a shop for example.
Where are drugs legal in Europe?
In Europe, they are not legal. Canada, Uruguay and a few states in America have legalized marijuana.
Do you grow marijuana?
Sure. I do what I want.
You’re not afraid of going to prison?
I’m just a human – of course, I’m scared. The desire to oppose this sick law, however, is stronger than my fear of the possible consequences.
Would you say you are an activist?
An activist, a libertarian, a free man…
Last time you took drugs?
About five and a half years ago.
So what do you do with the marijuana you grow?
No comment ?
So what’s the point?
Firstly drugs are NEVER going to go away. Let’s get that straight. If you legalize drugs then the quality of the drug is much higher. Many people who die from drugs die because of the rubbish the dealers put in the drug. Purity rates for cocaine are probably 5%, so 95 % is rubbish which is more dangerous than the drugs themselves.
Money is also an important issue. Currently, the government spends hundreds of millions on the prosecution and conviction of marijuana consumers. After the legalization, there would be no such costs, and as estimated, the budget would increase by 9-12 billion a year from the taxation of marijuana. That’s quite a lot of money that could be used to support poor health services or reduce taxation on labor.
Also, money that goes to the budget will not go into the hands of dangerous criminal groups. It’s a double benefit. In addition, thousands of new jobs will be created, and if it was done tomorrow, we would have an influx of millions of tourists.
Is it so bad in Poland?
Statistics say that the police arrest a person with drugs on them every 7 mins. Even when it’s for personal consumption. What a waste of police time. It’s crazy!
People who normally would not try drugs for fear of being caught might be attracted to try drugs if they are legalized.
That’s rubbish plus statistics don’t show that. If a person wants to try a drug they will do it, legal or not.
So are you saying drugs are OK?
Of course not. It’s not about promoting drugs. It’s about understanding that its a losing battle to fight them so better to control them.
How about marijuana?
Look at the statistics and test results. Marijuana is safer than alcohol yet one is legal and one is not!
Do you think it will ever be legalized in Poland?
100%. In Europe, they are already planning this in 10-15 years. Even if these are only guidelines, this trend is unstoppable. Legalization of marijuana is already being considered by Thailand and Mexico. Next generations of cannabis prohibition will only learn from history textbooks.
That means drugs available in shops?
Sure. Why not? You can buy drugs in almost every store today. Let me remind you that tobacco alcohol is classified as one of the most dangerous drugs. Every year, 10 million people die from one or the other, yet the legality of these drugs does not shock anyone. Morality and logic are important to me, not superstition and tradition.
Are you active in promoting the idea of legalizing drugs?
Sure. I’m a member of the Libertarian Association which is an initiative of people who deeply believe in the value/importance of independence. Our goal is the promotion of freedom, liberty and other libertarian values among people.
We all believe that one’s freedom should only be limited by the freedom of others. We are the proponents of civil liberties, people who believe that voluntary actions will always have the upper hand over the enforced ones and allies of libertarianism and liberalism. What we do is promote our beliefs at both national and local levels.
If there was a public vote tomorrow about decriminalizing marijuana tomorrow what do you think would happen?
I’m sure at least 50 % would vote yes.
How about legalizing marijuana?
I would say around 30% would agree
If drugs were legalized tomorrow, would you start taking them again?
They don’t need to be legal for me to start again. I will decide myself if I ever want to try drugs again, legal or not.
You didn’t answer the question…
No. I would become a producer ?
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