Sweden: unleashing counter offensive

The Swedish ultra-prohibitionists are increasingly isolated in Europe as the legalisation movement makes political progress and becomes a high profile issue.
Swiss success and French tolerance

The success of the Swiss experiment with legal and controlled heroin distribution has led many European countries to prepare legislation for similar programs.

Sweden’s neighbour, Denmark, is to begin heroin distribution this year, and many leading Danish politicians have been calling for Dutch-style “coffee shops” to be opened there. (Since at least June of 1997, Danish hospitals have also been giving AIDS and cancer patients natural cannabis extracts in pill form.)

Sweden’s greatest ally in the drug war has until now been France, but the election of a new government there has led to the collapse of the Franco-Swedish prohibitionist axis. The new French Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, has admitted smoking cannabis, and along with the Minister of Health intends to liberalise the draconian French drug laws.

Fanaticism vs Euphoria

As Sweden becomes politically more isolated and their internal drug problems become worse, they are being driven to ever greater fanaticism. In July of this year a new Swedish “anti-euphoria” law is due to come into effect. Under this law, any substance which can “cause euphoria” will, without any further definition, be illegal, and consumption of it will become a criminal offence. (A similar clause appeared in an earlier version of Canada’s Bill C-8, but was removed after public outcry.)

Swedish police are trained to look for “drug abusers”, and have sweeping powers to apprehend anyone they believe to be under the influence of drugs. Raves are regularly raided by hundreds of police, who shine flashlights into the eyes of young people, looking for the tell-tale dilated pupils.

Murder by Police

Drug users are regarded as a low form of life by a brutal Swedish police force, and this has led to abuses, one of which has reached the attention of Amnesty International.

According to Amnesty, police in the town of Karlstad approached Osmo Vallo, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Despite the fact that Osmo Vallo was in no way threatening or violent, the police kicked him to the ground and set a police dog on him.

After forcing him face down and handcuffing him, one of the police stamped hard in the middle of his back. Witnesses reported hearing a loud crack, and Osmo Vallo died shortly thereafter. The policemen were only fined for not keeping a police dog under proper control, and remain in the police force.

Sweden takes on Europe and the UN

In November 1997, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties adopted a proposal by Dutch Euro MP Hedy d’Ancona, calling for the legalisation of cannabis and the regulation of hard drugs. The European Parliament has sent the proposal back to committee for more study, to be voted on later this year.

Meanwhile, in June of this year there will be a special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, devoted to reconsidering the international conventions on drugs.

Both of these developments indicate that Sweden’s aggressive narconazi policy is under serious threat, and to counter this they have launched a major prohibitionist offensive.

Swedish authorities have sent letters to all members of the European parliament, asking them to vote against the d’Ancona motion.

The Swedish-controlled European Cities Against Drugs is also organising a “World Conference Against Drugs” in Stockholm in the middle of May. Representatives of all 500 member towns and cities from across Europe are invited to attend, along with delegates from the USA, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The conference will last two days and will try to make maximum impact on the UN politicians due to discuss drug policy in June.

Europe’s own North Korea

The Swedish prohibitionists are desperate and fanatical. They have the financial resources of the state behind them and will do their best to sabotage any moves towards legalisation in Europe and elsewhere.

Fortunately, Swedish fanaticism may be their worst enemy. The trend is against them, and they are increasingly coming to be regarded as the North Korea of European drug policy.


The Swedish National Association for a Drug Free Society: www.rns.se/english/index.html; email: [email protected]