A parliamentary blowout on the legalization of marijuana - this is how one should describe the team set up by the Left, which was supposed to work on changes to the laws on medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and fiber hemp. After nearly two years of the team's existence, its activities can be described as acting for show and "under the public eye." Not only that, but the team, led by MP Beata Maciejewska, has decided to sabotage the activities of other MPs who have long been working on changes to the hemp law. Another issue is that reading the team's assumptions about the planned changes, it is clear in black and white that the MPs have no idea about the topic they want to supposedly deal with. Here is more information.
Parliamentary blowout on marijuana legalization
The parliamentary team on the legalization of marijuana was established nearly two years ago. At its inception, the cannabis community and those who support it hoped that the team's work would lead to any changes for the better in Polish cannabis law.
The first public consultation meeting was held in February 2020, and left mixed, albeit positive, feelings. A large group of people gathered, most of whom can be called hemp experts in their fields, including WeedNews had representation. During the aforementioned meeting, we were to establish with the team, the goals and the way to achieve them.
While the goals were relatively clear, we decided to talk about how to achieve them. Very quickly it became apparent that this was the toughest nut to crack - first to convince the government to talk, and then in the course of those talks to seek an agreement. Unfortunately, as soon as the discussion began on this topic - the chairwoman of the team, MP Beata Maciejewska, left the meeting without taking part in the debate!
It is important to remember that politics is governed by its own laws. If a bill is submitted that it is known in advance that it will be rejected by the government - this is a political act for show and for the public, and not for the issue the bill concerns. Especially when the topic is controversial, and marijuana is definitely such a topic.
Persuading the current government to make any changes to the cannabis issue is hard and arduous work on parliamentary committees, among others. Without the government's support, any bill put to a vote will fall. It is also necessary to acquire adequate knowledge as to the subject under consideration, and in the case of hemp, this knowledge is very extensive and at times very specialized.
Before submitting a bill of this type to the Speaker's staff - it is necessary to work out its support in the ruling camp. Of course, nothing has been done in this direction. Therefore, the deputies who are members of the team actually know that their proposals will definitely not pass, and then everyone will unanimously say that they meant well, but the bad government did not allow changes. This is all a crib for the public, mere politics, not a desire to change the cannabis law.
This is a publicity stunt so that maybe a few more votes will fall in one day. Ms. Maciejewska has let go of the subject of convincing even the ruling camp to debate - probably because it would require a lot of work. That's why I think it was a sham, because how can you define an action that you know in advance is doomed to failure? But you can always at the same time shout that you wanted to do well, but that bad government didn't allow it.
I was part of a group of advisors who made it clear that the submission of laws without an agreement with the government was a pointless activity, and its only purpose would be political. The goal of the team should not be to submit the laws, but to convince the government to do so.
Unfortunately, the actions of the parliamentary team on the legalization of marijuana are pure politics and a desire to win the votes of weed lovers and medical marijuana patients, rather than acting for the benefit of citizens and changing the law. This is indicated by a number of things, first and foremost by the fact that the Left's deputies can't imagine working on a new bill together with MP Sachajko, who also works for cannabis but does so much more effectively and without making a fuss around the topic as the Left does. On the Facebook profile of the team, can we find even one piece of information about the activities of MP Sachajko? Of course not, despite the fact that they are at a more advanced stage of work. Why? Because MP Sachajko is associated with the Law and Justice Party and the Right - the fact that he is able to negotiate much more than the Left has no meaning for the team's deputies. This is pure politics, if MP Beata Maciejewska cared about the Polish hemp issue - she would cooperate with anyone in this matter. I understand that if Jaroslaw Kaczynski came forward saying that he would legalize marijuana - the Left would refuse because it is politically undignified to cooperate with PiS.
MP Beata Maciejewska, being the chairwoman of the team, did not even deign to get acquainted with the topic of hemp in Poland, having no idea where the problem really lies, she subscribes to completely ridiculous and distorted arguments under the proposed changes.
Public consultations with representatives of the hemp community were also just for show. The team's only meeting with advisors was held in February 2020. The chairwoman of the team left it before the discussion began, claiming she had more important matters. Shortly thereafter, another team meeting was held with advisors from the hemp community. However, the meeting no longer invited as much representation from the hemp community as the first meeting did. To put it simply, people were invited who are more likely to form a mutual adoration circle than to advise, instead of accounting for the real results of the team's work. When I asked Ms. Maciejewska on the phone about the reason for this situation, I was told that the team is made up of MPs, not advisors, and that MPs are not obliged to consult or agree on anything with anyone. And it's a pity, because the team's deputies have no idea about the topics they are dealing with.
The best example of this is the justification for the changes to allow the cultivation of medical marijuana in Poland. The justification states that the high price and low availability of medical marijuana in pharmacies is due to the fact that the dried product is imported from, for example, Canada, while producing it domestically would reduce the cost of therapy and ensure the continued availability of the product. This is, of course, total nonsense, and writing such things shows that no one on the team has even leaned into the problems of price and availability.
The truth is, however, that the poor availability of medical marijuana in Polish pharmacies is due to the complicated procedures for issuing approvals for bringing a batch of the drug into the country and the fact that Poland has the highest restrictions on the content of the active compound, THC. If our regulations were changed slightly, and the permissible deviation standards were set at the same level as the rest of Europe, then we would have constant access to pharmacy-grade dried drug in Poland, and there would be at least dozens of types. All it would take is one small change in the regulations, we wrote in detail about this T U T AJ.
Of course, the issue of Polish medical marijuana cultivation is an important one, but it will still be a long time before such crops are established. On the other hand, in order to help patients right now - the aforementioned changes in the current legislation should be introduced. This would be for the moment the best and fastest action for the benefit of Polish patients. However, much less media coverage.
Working on changes to the permissible standard of deviation of the active compound in medical marijuana (THC) would not arouse so much controversy and would not be a topic around which to make a crib like the team is currently doing. Such work might not bring publicity, but it would be invaluable to patients, but the Left prefers populist slogans and playing politics at the expense of patients.
If MPs submit bills that they know in advance will not pass, it is a sham and insincere action. It is also a downright harmful action, because when the Left's bills are finally rejected (and they will be, because the team has done nothing to make it otherwise) a lot of water will have to flow in the Vistula for the parliament to return to the topic again. I also cannot imagine for the moment a debate on legalization or Polish cultivation of medical marijuana. If such a debate were to take place, it would be a complete failure of the team's deputies as they have no idea either about cannabis or marijuana, or about the real causes of patients' problems, while the chairwoman of the team as the main argument repeatedly said that "If I get the urge and want to smoke - no one can forbid me from doing so."
During the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development last month, during which the first reading of the amendments to the bill (authored by MP Sachajko) and the debate on the matter took place, MP Urszula Zielinska (parliamentary team for the legalization of marijuana) was the first to speak. MP Zielińska requested that the committee meeting... end immediately. Of course, without first reading and without discussing amendments!
MP Zielinska argued her motion on the grounds that she is the proposer of a similar project as part of the team's activities, and her project has already been notified to the European Commission, with the notification to be completed on October 25.
Such an action should be straightforwardly called sabotaging changes to Polish cannabis law.
Particularly in view of the fact that the team's deputies are surely aware that the amendments discussed by Mr. Sachajko are the result of arrangements with the government, which has tentatively agreed to them. With the deputies representing the team on the legalization of marijuana - no one from the government even wants to talk about it.
The proposal was initially rejected, and the chairman informed the MP that such issues are decided by the Speaker of the Parliament and there is no possibility of accepting such a proposal. However, the deputies of the marijuana legalization team did not let go, despite the fact that the committee chairman informed them that such a postponement could have a distant date (read it would delay changes to the law) - the deputies still insisted on their idea!
Fortunately, the motion was rejected by a large majority during the vote.
This is what Maciej Pawlowski - a journalist, hemp activist and entrepreneur, and co-founder of the National Association of Cannabis Market Employers - says about MP Zielinska's motion:
The amendment to the Law on Counteracting Drug Addiction, proposed by, among others, MP Sachajko, will help improve the situation of farmers in Poland. Hemp is currently the most profitable crop. Any delay in amending the law, is a blow to the fledgling Polish hemp industry.
The bill being discussed at the committee deals solely with the issue of hemp farming. Its goal is to do away with regionalization of cultivation and issuance of permits, if the legislation can be introduced fairly quickly then there is a good chance that regionalization and issuance of permits will disappear as early as next year and will be replaced only by notification of cultivation.
If MP Sachajko "gets his way" and the new regulations take effect within a few months - this will be a real improvement in the conditions for growing fiber hemp in our country.
If the Left MPs on the aforementioned committee get their way - it would be a real detriment to Polish hemp farming! MPs Maciejewska and Zielinska don't give a damn about the Polish hemp industry and Polish hemp farmers and are able to harm them for their own political gain, that's the truth.