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Cannabis activists to march through Vienna

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Photo: Hanfinstitut.at
11:24 CEST+02:00
Austrian cannabis activists are holding a ‘social march’ in Vienna on Saturday 19th September to protest against the planned reform of drug laws which will still criminalize patients who use cannabis to treat pain and symptoms of disease.

Organisers expect up to 10,000 people to join the march, which begins at 1pm at Museumsquartier, and will then progress along the Ringstrasse, crossing the Aspernbrücke and ending up in the Prater on Jesuitenwiese at 6pm, for an 'after-party'.

A parliamentary initiative to legalize cannabis in Austria has collected more than 15,000 signatures in Vienna alone. Initiated by Legalize! Österreich and supported by the Hemp Institute it seeks to change the law so that Austrians over the age of 16 are allowed to possess 10 grams of cannabis and can cultivate their own plants, producing up to 500 grams annually.

Commercial producers would be required to register with the state and pay taxes. Distribution and sales would be through tobacconists, pharmacies and other licensed sellers.

Toni Straka, chairman of the Hemp Institute, said that he hopes to collect a few thousand more signatures for the initiative during the march and that the aim is to make hemp easily available for use as a pain treatment for people suffering from serious illnesses. 

"The law still criminalizes patients. Nobody becomes sick because s/he consumes cannabis. But many sick people successfully use cannabis against more than 250 diseases... sometimes with spectacular improvement in their health," Straka said.

"We regularly find that in Vienna we have a 99.95 percent approval rating for the use of hemp as a medicinal treatment,” he added.

The ÖAMTC has warned motorists to expect congestion and delays on Saturday along the march route and to avoid driving that way if possible. The exact route will be: Museumsplatz – Bellariastrasse – Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring – Universitätsring – Schottenring – Franz-Josefs-Kai – Aspernbrücke – Aspernbrückengasse – Praterstrasse – Praterstern – Hauptallee – Rotundenallee – Jesuitenwiese.

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