The Psychedelic Bookshop and its owner are under suspicion of having committed a serious narcotics offence for selling THC free hemp products over the internet.
These products, such as Knaster Hanf Swiss cannabis pastilles, have such a low THC content as to be completely non-psychoactive.
So why are they being harassed for selling these low-THC products? To answer this we need to explain more about the Psychedelic Bookshop and its background.
The Psychedelic Bookshop started in July 1996 with the main intention of introducing a debate on conciousness expanding drugs in Sweden. The Psychedelic Bookshop has operated with a loss from the beginning – subsidized by the owner’s other company in the computer business.
The Psychedelic Bookshop was quickly maligned as the leading advocate of drug liberalism in Sweden. Yet the Psychedelic Bookshop do not regard themselves as particularly drug liberal, they would rather regard themselves as humanists. This means they believe in people and their capacity to take responsibility. It also means that they believe there should be free access to information and that through this information people can think about and take positions on different matters.
All different people are of equal value, even those who choose to use drugs. That is the basic tenet of humanism and the foundation upon which the political activities of the Psychedelic Bookshop are founded.
During the 1980’s and the greater part of the 1990’s it was, in effect, only the RNS, Hassela, the FMN, ECAD and their ideologues who had right of expression in drug matters. All else was taboo. The primary purpose of the Psychedelic Bookshop was to abolish this taboo and to enable people to think about drug questions again. The purpose was not, as some insinuate, to try to get everyone to start using drugs.
To accomplish this the Psychedelic Bookshop used not only information and criticism, but also methods that are more unconventional in Sweden, that is, satire and provocation. They wrote satirical texts and created attention grabbing graphical presentations, printed provocative shirts with the text “Alcohol, No Thanks”, all in the hope that it would make people think. Unfortunately there were many who were only angry, particularly amongst the authorities and others who have interests to protect in the public sector.
Millions of Crowns are invested in Sweden in what is called “drug preventative information,” whose purpose is getting people to automatically say no to drugs without thinking of what it really means. Then suddenly up pops the Psychedelic Bookshop with its hundreds of thousands of visitors who, with a few simple measures, overthrow all of this. It is as clear as day that certain people became consumed with rage and took the first opportunity they could to harrass the Psychedelic Bookshop and stop their activities.
Such an opportunity arose when the Psychedelic Bookshop started to sell a pair of provocative products. It started with Swiss cannabis pastilles, which are a kind of sweet, or rather, throat tablets with a cannabis taste. They contain no THC or any other psychoactive substance of any kind. The cannabis pastilles were meant as a joke, nothing more.
After this, the provocation was taken a step further when a perfectly legal German substance called Knaster Hanf started to be sold. This is a smoking mixture that consists of 50% non-psychoactive herbs such as dandelion, yerba santa and red clover and 50% non-psychoactive industrial hemp, that is, cannabis with an extremely low THC content. This provocation was evidently more than certain persons could tolerate. The matter was brought to the attention of the police, who passed it on to the “Rave Commission,” who then saw a golden opportunity to stop the activities of the Psychedelic Bookshop.
RAID, JAIL AND PERSECUTION
On April 7, at 2pm, after many weeks observation, the Psychedelic Bookshop was stormed by 5-10 persons from the Rave Commission. The property search was requested by prosecutor Bo Josefsson. The result of the search was 4 packets of Knaster Hanf at 35 grammes each, 61 packets of Swiss cannabis pastilles and two short tubes containing mushroom spores. Documents were uncovered which showed trading with further quantities of these products.
During subsequent days a large quantity of papers, personal letters, books, receipts, computers, accounts and so on were seized. During the raid, the owner of the Psychedelic Bookshop was taken to Stockholms Sodermalm police station and forced to submit to blood tests taken by a police doctor. The non-psychoactive products found on the property were termed by the police “a not inconsiderable quantity of narcotics” and the owner was arrested on suspicion of a serious narcotics offence. He was then placed in a cell in Sodermalm police station where he spent the next 3 days.
There were no facilities as there are in, for example, a modern prison, just a 6 square meter cell with nothing to do.
He is furthermore, a vegetarian who eats neither meat nor fish, but no account was taken of this and he was refused vegetarian food, being told to eat what he was given. The only things he ate during this time were the potatoes and rice that were served with the meat. Because of this he started to feel starved and undernourished.
It was under these conditions that an aggressive member of the Rave Commission burst into the cell and threatened him that he would remain in there until they had found all his stores. He went on and on about “where are the stores? where are the stores?”. He was asked what he meant by stores and answered “The stores where all the Knaster Hanf is kept”. He was told there was no store, “All I have is kept on the property”. This is completely true. To convince him, he was shown where all the keys went and as he was leaving he was asked to be reasonable in return for being helped. He replied coldly “Of course we are reasonable, why do you think we have locked you in this cell”.
On April 10 he was transported to Kronoberg, the major police custody in Stockholm, and locked in a dirty cell in one of the worse sections. The following day preliminary hearings were held in the Stockholm Court (Department 12, Division 1) during which prosecutor Bo Josefsson tried to portray the accused as a dangerous narcotics criminal and asked for a charge of a serious narcotics offence to be brought for the non-psychoactive product Knaster Hanf.
Unfortunately his lawyer at the time couldn’t prevent Judge Ulla Bergendal from following the prosecutors line and ruled that he should be held in custody for another two weeks. Furthermore he was to be held under restrictions, which meant that he was not allowed to telephone anyone except his lawyer and that all letters were to go through the prosecutor. On the positive side he was to be moved to a better department with radio and television in the cells.
The day after he was visited by Bo Eliasson, the policeman in charge of the investigation. He offered to bring clothes from his apartment and asked which keys he should use. He probably wanted to look through the apartment without requesting a search warrant from the prosecutor. He had not been in the apartment before. Despite that, he was given permission to go into the apartment, partially because there was need of clean clothes and partially because there was nothing to hide.
The next day a police interrogation was held, lead by Bo Eliasson with the assistance of Petra Granath. During the interrogation the owner of the Psychedelic Bookstore told openly about his activities and said that he has never had any intention of committing a criminal offence and therefore there is no reason to remain silent or to lie. He sold Knaster Hanf and the Swiss cannabis pastilles, not to make money, but to awaken debate. That means he stands by what he has done and defends the motive behind it, otherwise the whole aim, to awaken debate, would be impossible.
Bo Eliassons interrogation technique was exemplary, which made the accused wonder about this policeman. The members of the Rave commission are not known for being sensitive or considerate. Why does this Bo Eliasson appear and take over the case? He says he has been ordered to do so, but this is hard to believe. It is possible that Bo Eliasson is a competant policeman who has just happened to end up in the Rave Commission, but it is much more probable that he has been called in to investigate the drug legalisation movement. Admittedly, this is pure speculation.
During the time in police custody another interrogation was held, this time by Petra Granath alone. During this interrogation it was implied that the mother of the accused was an accomplice and that friendly visits to acquaintances were a conspiration against the Rave Commission. It was also necessary to explain what import duty was and how to make simple bank transactions.
There was also a visit by Christer Griborn from the probationary service. He had the job of writing a personality report for the court. That would be used if any eventual sentence was to be probation. Christer Griborn had difficulty hiding his amazement. He had seen nothing like it before. Here was a man who had left school with top qualifications, studied and researched at university level, started a successful company, lived an ordered life and was not in the criminal register. This man was now accused of a serious narcotics crime because he with the help of non-psychoactive products wanted to start a debate about drug policy. Christer Griborn couldn’t get this together and asked: “Was it worth it? serious narcotics crimes carry a minimum of two years prison”. The answer was: “Serious narcotics crime? That is a joke!” followed by deeply felt laughter.
An application was made to attend an Easter religious service to be held on Easter Monday in Kronoberg. There was to be a choir with soloists and organ music. That would have been much appreciated, but had to be missed due to being released on April 19 after 12 days locked in a cell. And all for a couple of products that have absolutely no psychoactive properties.
But doesn’t Swedish law say that all cannabis is a narcotic? The answer is no. Cannabis is grown all over Europe, even in Sweden, in the form of industrial hemp. This hemp has a very low THC content. Industrial hemp is used mainly for its fibers, which are used for making rope, canvas, cloth, clothes, paper and many other products. The seeds from industrial hemp are used for food and hempseed oil. Products manufactured from this oil are sold all over the world.
Growing industrial hemp is not a criminal activity, it is fully legal and is sponsored by the European Union, who give millions of Euros to hemp-cannabis growers. The only condition is that the THC content must be lower than 0.3%, a limit that is set very much lower than the THC content of real marijuana, which can be as much as 20%.
It is from this completely legal industrial hemp that Knaster Hanf is made. According to analysis made in Germany, the industrial hemp in Knaster Hanf contains 0.13% THC, which is far lower than the Europen Union legally mandated limit of 0.3%. Furthermore, this industrial hemp has been mixed with a quantity of other non-psychoactive herbs (dandelion, red clover and yerba santa), which means that the THC content in Knaster Hanf sinks to 0.065%. It is, in other words, completely impossible to get high from this smoking mixture. There would be a far greater effect from drinking an alcohol free beer.
The Swiss cannabis pastilles contain absolutely no THC at all. According to analysis in Switzerland they contain less THC than modern anaysis apparatus can trace. The cut off limit is 0.1 mg per kilo, which is less than one part THC per 10 000 000 parts of the pastille materiel, that is, less than 0,00001%. This means that the Swiss cannabis pastilles contain no psychoactive material at all and it is completely impossible to experience any effects from them.
If this is the case, then why was an arrest made for a serious narcotics offence? Apparently because of the wrong assumption that cannabis is a narcotic. This has no support in Swedish law. In the first place, according to the narcotics law, for a substance to be considered a narcotic it must be “A danger to health with either euphoric effects or addictive properties”. If this condition is not met, the substance cannot be a narcotic, even if it is listed in the Health Ministry’s list of narcotic substances. Knaster Hanf has no effect at all and, by definintion, cannot be a narcotic. If the Health Ministry’s list of narcotic substances is examined, it does not state anywhere that cannabis is a narcotic. What it does say is the following: “Cannabis, which is understood to be the above ground component of every plant of the cannabis family (with the exception of the seeds) from which the resin has not been removed”.
It is written in this way because it is just the resin which contains the active components. This means that cannabis which contains resin is the narcotics classed marijuana, while cannabis without resin is industrial hemp. In industrial hemp the resin has been reduced by means of selective breeding. If this obvious distinction was not made, then every supermarket would commit a narcotics offence every time they sold a length of rope or string made from hemp.
This should be apparent to every thinking person, but it seems this obvious fact has not reached the State Forensic Laboratories (SKL) in Linkoping. There is to be found a woman called MariAnne von Wachenfelt who totally ignores this and consequently is committing a gross dereliction of duty.
MariAnne von Wachenfelt is responsible for analysis of organic narcotics at the SKL. She received samples of Knaster Hanf for analysis and came to the conclusion that they contained cannabis plant matter. She then returned an analysis report saying that Knaster Hanf contained cannabis and therefore was a narcotic.
Now begins the incredible. MariAnne von Wachenfelt refuses, repeat, refuses to measure the THC content of Knaster Hanf. She is apparently afraid that the result would show that the THC content of Knaster Hanf is infinitesimal and instead just says “no, I will not measure the THC content”. This is despite the fact that she has measured the THC content of a cannabis seizure in a case brought before the High Court in 1998. No other conclusion can be drawn than that MariAnne von Wachenfelt is committing gross professional misconduct and that her refusal is based on the wishes of those who would like to see a guilty verdict. Everyone who has been spoken to about MariAnne von Wachenfelt describes her as a rabid drug warrior and because of this her scientific credibility has been questioned in high places.
From the above it is clear that the accused is regarded as an extremely dangerous person whose activities must be stopped at all costs. There is consequently a political motive behind the action against the Psychedelic Bookshop and from this arises a few interesting questions. Does the State and Society have the right to act in this way against people with dissenting and uncomfortable opinions? Do we want a country with political prisoners? Are the interests of the State always to be put before human rights and the integrity of the individual? Is the police reaction in reasonable proportion to the actions? Is not tolerance towards dissenters preferable to intolerance? And how far can we accept State intrusion in our personal lives? It seems Sweden is entering a phase of frightening developments in which the interests of the State go before all else, even the human value of the individual. Is this the sort of society we want to live in? A society in which the prisons are filled with political prisoners and where the fear of authority spreads throughout society. If you do not wish to live in such a society you are asked to oppose these developments by protesting against this harrassment and the miscarriage of justice that is being prepared.
Knaster smoking mixtures:
Swiss cannabis pastilles:
Responsible Persons and Authorities:
Prosecutor Bo Josefsson Prosecution Authorities in Stockholm Box 70296 107 22 Stockholm Tel 46 8 762 16 53
Bo Eliasson Rave Commission Drug Squad Police Authority in Stockholm 106 75 Stockholm Tel 46 8 401 03 96
MariAnne von Wachenfelt State Forensic Laboratories 581 94 Linkoping Tel 46 13 24 14 00