Pannagh, one of the oldest cannabis social clubs in Spain, is being persecuted by the Spanish prosecutor. Two years after the precautionary closure of the association of cannabis consumers Pannagh, the anti-drug prosecutor has asked prison sentences totaling 22 years in prison and fines of nearly two and a half million euros for five members of the association.
The prosecution accuses president Martin Barriuso, treasurer Igor Gaminde and the secretary of the association of a "drug trafficking offense with outstanding importance" asking for sentences of 4 and ahalf years in prison and of involvement in a "criminal organization" which correspond to another year and a half sentence. The three were imposed a bail of one million euros, so all their assets were seized. The other two defendants, two members working with a harvest labour contract, are accused of drug trafficking and sentences of two years a 1.000 euro fine have been requested.
Given these facts, the signatories want to publicly express the following:
The Association of Cannabis Consumers Pannagh was formally established as a non-profit association in 2003. It consists of adult people who use cannabis, and its activities are aimed at avoiding risks to its members which are related to the black market and preventing damage associated with the use of the plant.
It’s common knowledge that Pannagh attempts to create alternative circuits to supply cannabis within the current legal framework and to reduce illicit trafficking. To do this Pannagh for several years has organised a closed circuit of cannabis cultivation. This has repeatedly been declared legal by different courts. All previous cases have been dismissed and filed through final judicial decisions, including orders of the Provincial Courts of Bizkaia and Álava. In both cases the confiscated cannabis was returned to the organisation.
We believe that the closure of Pannagh - that has now lasted two years - and the complaint against several of its members is a good example of the legal uncertainty surrounding Pannagh’s activities, a situation that the association has been questioning for years at various levels, and the existence of which was recognized by the Basque Parliament in the resolution that led to the creation of an initiative to regulate Cannabis Social Clubs.
It is noteworthy that, since its founding, Pannagh has been developing activities towards establishing a framework of rights and obligations for cannabis consumers, as well as a comprehensive regulation of plant related activities. For years, its activities have been generally known and tolerated by the de facto government.
It is particularly worrying that three members of the board of Pannagh are accused of involvement in a criminal organisation, when the group is exactly the opposite: a legally registered association, whose activities have been developed without a shadow of secrecy. Not only is it unfair to punish more harshly those who try to follow the channels of the law, but also can it make others believe that it is safer away to keep away from them.
Without going into qualifying the specific legal proceedings, we want to express our support to the public work of the accused persons and, therefore, to that of the entire group of people representing cannabis consumers. We understand that their work in favor of regulation for groups of people who use cannabis in our community, and for more just and effective social policies, has been positive and constructive.