We sat down with the recently convicted publisher of Legalizace [English: Legalization] magazine, Robert Veverka, to check in with him and also to find out his plans for the near future.
How are you feeling after the verdict?
I feel branded, damaged, and personally disgusted. Unfortunately, the verdict lends credence to the prosecution’s case, which reflects an ignorance of cannabis legislation and is based on a general repressive view that positive information about cannabis is unacceptable to the establishment. Moreover, according to my three-year prosecution and the court’s verdict, publishing is even an illegal activity.
Now I intend to put all my efforts into preparations for the establishment of a regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic.
The court’s judgement refers to a section in the law on the propagation of “toxicomania” – toxic addiction – a Bolshevik relic from the days of the totalitarian communist regime, which also prosecuted and punished people for inappropriate opinions.
What do you think this means for the future of cannabis information in this country?
For me personally, it means that if I continue publishing, I will have to provide information about cannabis in a different way. How, specifically, is something I will decide based on the written judgement and especially its reasoning. I am still waiting for that!
Are you going to accept the punishment?
The judgement is final, I must accept the penalty of CZK 250 000 [more than 11,000 USD/EUR – a year’s salary for many Czechs – Ed.], or go to jail. I definitely do not agree with the verdict: I consider the punishment for disseminating objective and comprehensive information – even on such a controversial topic as the regulation and use of cannabis – to be a systemic error of judgement and punitive bullying.
I am ready to appeal to the Supreme Court and then to the Constitutional Court with my lawyer and continue to fight for freedom of speech and the right to information.
What are your professional plans now?
I still have commitments to my readers, so I am not giving up on the idea of relaunching Legalization magazine. Therefore, I sincerely hope that I will read in the reasoning of the judgement exactly what the facts are regarding where and with what I have committed said crime of “dissemination of intoxication”, so that I can avoid any unlawful acts in the future. Otherwise, continuing to publish will be a very difficult thing, because one cannot do business within a cloud of legal uncertainty.
The judgement is final, I must accept the penalty of CZK 250 000.
In addition to this, I intend to put all my efforts into preparations for the establishment of a regulated cannabis market in the Czech Republic, which have been going on intensively since the beginning of the year, and require considerable attention. Last but not least, I am preparing the upcoming 2023 Million Marijuana March demonstration for cannabis legalization, planned for the end of May in Prague.
Do you have a message for our readers?
As long as I’m alive, I will fight! They – the courts – have turned my efforts to inform and educate the public into a personal and public crusade. May my legacy never fade. Education is not a crime: www.osvetanenizlocin.cz
If you can, please consider supporting Robert here.
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