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Austrian hemp friends take to the Streets: Cannabis Social March in Vienna on September 19




Media Release – Cannabis Politics, Events, Protest Rally

Austrian hemp friends take to the Streets: Cannabis Social March in Vienna on September 19

Press conference on September 15

Vienna, September 8, 2015 – Austrian hemp friends and cannabis patients will take to the streets on September 19 in Vienna. The ‚Cannabis Social March‘, organized by the Hanf-Institut  is a protest against the coming reform of Austria’s drug laws that still criminalizes cannabis patients and will declare all hemp users as sick persons.

„The backlash by the government after the second must successful parliamentary citizens initiative for the legalization cannabis is unbearable as it still criminalizes patients“, said Toni Straka, chairman of the Hanf-Institut. „Nobody is sick because s/he consumes cannabis. But many sick persons successfully use cannabis against more than 250 diseases with oftentimes spectacular improvement in their health“, said Straka.

As the Austrian government continues to ignore all scientific facts that make cannabis a universal cure without life threatening side effects, Austrian activists hope that the cannabis rally in Vienna will draw more than 10,000 participants, making it again one of the biggest political protests this year in Austria.

The route of the rally equals a first class Vienna sightseeing tour and weather forecasts point to one of the last sunny summer days on September 19.

The rally will begin at 1 PM at Museumsquartier and wind along the Vienna Ringstrasse towards Vienna’s biggest natural recreational area, the Prater where closing speeches and a party will be held.

Press conference September 15, 9:30 AM

Details of the rally and and the second parliamentary citizens initiative to legalize natural cannabis for patients will be announced at a press conference.

Location: Cafe Stein, 1090 Vienna, Währinger Strasse 6-8

Date and time: September 15, 9:30 AM


Hanf-Institut (HI)

For further information please contact

Toni Straka, Tel: +43 676 6966664

Vortrag des Hanf-Instituts bei der UN-Drogenkonferenz

Wien, 12. März 2015 – Das Hanf-Institut informerte im Rahmen der 58. Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND 2015) über die aktuelle Situation von Cannabis-Patienten in Österreich.

Hier sind die Folien und ein Video des Vortrags.

A huge leap forward in Austria: ‚Neos‘ party votes for legalization of cannabis

Vienna, October 29, 2014 – Public discussion of cannabis legalization has leaped to a new high in Austria after the neoliberal newcomer in parliament, the Neos party, has voted to push the issue at its annual general meeting last weekend.

Party chairman Mat(thias) Strolz, who was first surprised that his economy oriented party showed a majority interest in cannabis, came out after a two day hiatus, fully supporting the decison.

„We support self responsibility and liberty. Legalization makes sense“, said Strolz in a first statement on Tuesday. Recommending a step-by-step plicy towards legalization, the Neos fully support „grow your own“ as a first move that would especially benefit Austria’s legion of cannabis patients who nurture their medicine in grow closets at home. A next step towards regulation may be the distribution via pharmacies, Strolz said further, lifting the spirits of tens of thousands currently criminalized cannabis patients who still face jail if they get caught with their medicine of choice.

„Decriminalization would immediately benefit one in 8 Austrians. It is estimated 500,000 Austrians light up regularly and another 500,000 occasionally“, said Toni Straka, chairman of the Hanf-Institut (Austria).

The Neos are the first party to officially jump the legalization bandwagon after a first parliamentary citizens initiative to unhinge cannabis from current drug laws. With so far almost 27,000 signatories the initiative jumped into third place of the most successful citizens activism in Austria’s history.

Cannabis will certainly stay on the agenda in Austria. At the annual convent of Austria’s coalition leader, the Social Democrats (SPOe) in late November, there will be a ballot on cannabis legalization too.

„Counting the costs in monetary and human terms, I would not be surprised to see more politicians discovering that legalization could bring Austria 150 million Euros in savings of prosecution costs and simultaneously raise taxes well above 100 million Euros annually“, Straka said, pointing towards the enormous economic benefits of legalization.

It would also help cannabis patients. Lacking exact data due to prohibition, a comparison with data from Colorado is base for Hanf-Institut’s estimate of potentially 200,000 patients who may be eligible for medical cannabis.

Austrian Parliamentary Citizens Initiative for Cannabis Legalization Becomes 3rd Most Successful in History

Vienna, September, 14, 2014 – An Austrian parliamentary citizens initiative for cannabis legalization has become the third most successful civil activism in Austria’s democratic history.

„Reaching more that 22.392 signatures on the website of Austria’s parliament by Sunday noon makes it the third most important political issue in which Austrians take an active interest“, said Toni Straka, chairman of the Hemp Institute.

Initiator Bernhard Amann, chairman of Legalize!Österreich, said, „this huge success motivates us to organize a parliamentary hearing in order to reduce information deficits as most Austrian politicians still reject any legalization moves.“

Legalization could contribute 250 million Euros to Austria’s budget

Straka noted that a very important point of the citizens initiative has not found an echo in the otherwise broad media discussion of the legalization issue.

„According to conservative estimates cannabis legalization could contribute 250 million Euros towards the constrained Austrian federal budget.

100 million Euros could be saved on the side of drug enforcement. Another 150 million Euros could be earned with the proposed cannabis tax,“ Straka said.

The citizens initiative demands legal possession of up to 10 grams cannabis, the permission to grow up to 500 grams annually per grower and a regulation of cannabis distribution.

Hanf-Institut (HI)

For further information please contact

Toni Straka
Tel: +43 676 6966664

Austria’s Green Party Youth Joins the Legalize Cannabis Bandwagon


Vienna, August 30th, 2014 – Austria’s Green party youth has joined the growing efforts to legalize cannabis in Austria on Saturday. In the coming three weeks the young politicians will travel all over Austria with a symbolic human-sized joint to push the issue of a „reasonable drug policy reform“, chairwoman Diane Witzani told the Austrian Hemp Institute (Hanf-Institut).

„It is time to convince parents, grandparents and everybody else that legalization is the way to go,“ she said further.

„Either illegalize alcohol or legalize cannabis, everything else is hypocrisy“

„Either illegalize alcohol or legalize cannabis, everything else is hypocrisy,“ added spokesman Cengiz Kulac.

The young Greens support a change in drug policy, ackknowleding that prohibition has not worked in the past. More than 60,000 killings in the Mexican drug war are only one example of the futility of current policies.

The party youngsters aim for a system of controlled cannabis distribution with a focus on purity, similar to the German „Reinheitsgebot“, a centuries old rule for beer making.

In their view all advertising for drugs, including alcohol, should be outlawed.

„Preaching abstinence makes no sense. The solution is to inform and educate people,“ Witzani said in a statement released at the beginning of the travelling joint tour.

The Greens are the second party youth after the social democrats actively pushing for the legalization of cannabis in Austria.

A currently running parliamentary citizens initiative for the exclusion of cannabis from Austria’s drug laws has so far yielded more than 19,000 supporting signatures. „This makes it already the 4th most important political issue in Austria and people are no longer afraid to come out of the closet in order to be decriminalized“, Toni Straka, chairman of the Hemp Institute said.

According to official estimates up to one million Austrians consume cannabis. Calculations based on the number of medical cannabis patients in Colorado indicate that some 200,000 Austrians would be eligible for medical cannabis.

Austrian Activists start Parliamentary Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

Vienna, August 6, 2014 – Austrian cannabis activists have started a parliamentary initiative to legalize cannabis in Austria on Wednesday. Initiated by „Legalize! Oesterreich“ and supported by the Hemp Institute, Austrian voters can now sign an online initiative on the website of the Austrian parliament which is obliged to discuss the matter.

In the first six hours it collected more than 1,000 signatures and the initiators hope that a significant number of the one million cannabis consumers and patients – that is 1 in 8 Austrians – will put their weight behind this movement which seeks to exclude cannabis from Austrian drug laws.

According to the text of the initiative, Austrians over 16 years shall become eligible to possess 10 grams of cannabis legally. They shall also be allowed to cultivate their own plants and produce up to 500 grams annually.
Commercial producers of bigger amounts shall be required to register with the state and pay a tax of €1.- per gram for low to medium quality cannabis and €2 for plants with a THCa content above 20%.
Distribution and sales will be in the hands of tobacconists, pharmacies and other sellers with a state license.
The initiative also wants to establish a legal limit of 10 nanograms THC per millilitre blood for cannabis consumers operating a vehicle.

Excluding cannabis from Austrian drug laws would also result in budgetary savings to the tune of €100 million per year and free police capacities for more pressing issues, the activists said.