Marijuana for Soros: who and why is lobbying for the legalization of cannabis in Ukraine
According to experts, the law on the legalization of cannabis is needed specifically for the cultivation of cannabis, and not to ensure access to medicines
Back in the fall of last year, President Volodymyr Zelensky included the legalization of cannabis in his poll, and allegedly received the approval of 65% of Ukrainians. Several bills have already been registered in the Rada, including a joint one from deputies of the Servant of the People, Holos and European Solidarity factions.
How high is the likelihood of the adoption of this law, what exactly will Ukrainians get as a result and, most importantly, who and why is lobbying for the legalization of cannabis in Ukraine - Armina Khachatryan understood the new issue of “Armin in the subject” on the Youtube channel Klymenko Time.
2 MILLION UKRAINIANS NEED MARIJUANA?
In January, a rally in support of the legalization of medical cannabis was held near the walls of parliament, the frontman of which was a deputy from the “Voice” faction and the author of one of the laws on the legalization of cannabis Olga Stefanishina. The main argument of those who advocate legalization is that medical cannabis is allegedly very necessary for two million Ukrainian patients. And they call their law "the law for Sofia" - a little girl who needs medical cannabis to treat epilepsy. It was this child who became the face of the lobbying campaign in support of the law.
"Sofiyka is not just a person who was brought into the name of the law - she is a girl who has epilepsy, and whose mother is active and courageous in order to talk about this problem. - He speaks Maxim Rovinsky, Communications Director of the organization “100% Life” - Merezha PLHIV”. - Mom will find a way to find this medicine, but every day she risks being arrested by the police for illegal possession of drugs, because cannabis is still equated with heroin in our country. Bill [about the legalization of cannabis - ed] has been developed over these 2 years, including with the participation of patient organizations, and we believe that Ukraine is a modern enough country to legalize medical cannabis.”
According to Olga Stefanishina, the author of the bill, lobbyists for the legalization of cannabis have already enlisted the support of about 30 deputies from the Servant of the People, European Solidarity, and Voice factions. “There are three alternative bills from the “servants”, so I think that the idea itself will be supported by the pro-government mono-majority, so we will talk with them so that this is a common initiative”, says Stefanishina.
Interestingly, the number of 2 million Ukrainians who allegedly need legalization of medical cannabis was also announced in the Office of the President, explaining proposal Vladimir Zelensky take this idea to poll October 25. Although a year ago, during a big press conference, he stated that the issue of legalization was “out of time”.
Who convinced Zelensky? And do two million Ukrainians really need medical cannabis? As Klymenko Time explained narcologist Vladislav SovaIn fact, no more than 30 people in Ukraine need cannabis medicines, and they can be provided with the necessary medicines simply by order of the Ministry of Health - there is no need to adopt a separate law.
"There are hardly 20-30 thousand people in Ukraine who really need to take cannabis medicines. I don't see a problem with buying these drugs from abroad or allowing them with two orders from the Ministry of Health. Everything, no questions. Why not hold a referendum on this? Lobbyists want to push a bill that will allow them to officially grow marijuana here, including in order to certify and produce medicinal substances, ” - Owl told Klymenko Time correspondent.
According to the narcologist, the law on the legalization of cannabis is needed specifically for the cultivation of cannabis, and not to ensure access to medicines. "All we understand very well: as soon as cannabis cultivation is allowed in Ukraine, our black market is immediately filled with our domestic cannabis, and we have a total surge in drug addiction. Because it will become much more accessible and cheaper than it is now. And the use of people who really need a medicine is a stupid, cynical, brazen manipulation of public consciousness to achieve their business goals, and nothing more.”, - the Owl is sure.
THE STATE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTROL
The head of the parliamentary committee on finance, tax and customs policy, a deputy from the Servant of the People, also opposes the law on legalization. Daniil Getmantsev. He says that it will be difficult for the state to control what kind of cannabis is grown - for medical purposes or not:
"State control over the cultivation of cannabis is very complex, analysis needs to be done. If the field grows, then where is the hemp, you cannot determine. A hectare of hemp with the substance is 30 million dollars. With our level of corruption, we will not be able to exercise this control and we will have cannabis smoking on every corner. If we cannot ban the sale of vodka, then what cannabis? I am totally against”, - says Getmantsev.
Equally strongly opposed to the legalization of cannabis is Max Buzhansky, MP from “Servant of the People”:
"I, just like millions of citizens, are against the legalization of drugs. Drugs are evil, does this argument need to be argued?”, - Buzhansky explained his position to Klymenko Time.
The deputy is sure that the lobbyists of the law are replacing concepts and, under the guise of medical cannabis, are seeking the legalization of the cultivation of drugs on Ukrainian black soil.
"From the argument about alleviating the suffering of the sick, they very quickly move on to the next argument. And let's sow it and we will earn? These are different things. When we talk about relieving the pain of patients, we know that this can be solved by a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, simply by expanding the list of drugs. And when it comes to what let's sow and earn, then there is no need to talk about the suffering of cancer patients that you want to alleviate. Tell us right away that a large state with the richest black soil in the world, with the remnants of a once powerful technical base, can no longer earn money on anything - only on the cultivation and sale of drugs. There is an example of a state that has taken this path - Afghanistan, there is nothing else there. Are we being asked to follow this path? Is this budgeting?”, - Buzhansky asks questions.
The ex-deputy also speaks about the impossibility of control by the state Igor Mosiychuk. In his opinion, the legalization of medical cannabis will give rise to corrupt schemes for obtaining licenses for cultivation and increase smuggling:
"Let's be honest, we have an absolutely destroyed and non-functioning law enforcement system in our country, especially for light crimes. Imagine allowed [medical cannabis - ed.], this is essentially another legal business where there will be unscrupulous doctors and suppliers. In my homeland there were fields of technical hemp and fools who thought it was weed that they smoke, there were so many of them that they were even caught. It will be corruption in obtaining a license to grow, the issue of smuggling, and so on. That is, it will lead to the criminalization of the already difficult situation in the country.”, - Mosiychuk is sure.
TOP LOBBYISTS FOR CANNABIS LEGALIZATION
The cannabis legalization bill has come quite a long way to parliament. Since the 2000s, “hemp marches” began to be held in the country, but the issue was brought to a serious level only a few years ago. Under President Poroshenko Acting became the driver of this process. Minister of Health Ulana Suprun. For several years she tried to convince Ukrainians that legalization is a "normal practice" in civilized countries.
"We support that in Ukraine we can use medical cannabis for our patients. This will help almost two million Ukrainians who have a need due to cancer, against pain after the cancer itself. For children with epilepsy, for our veterans who now have PTSD. Many of these problems can be solved and treated with medical cannabis.", Suprun said in March 2019 in interview Channel 5 by Petro Poroshenko.
After Suprun's resignation, legalization retained a powerful lobby. For example, at the end of last year, even the head of the OCU joined this campaign Epiphany. "If this [cannabis use - ed.] will be used exclusively for beneficial, medical purposes and will not be abused as a drug. Therefore, when meeting even with the Prime Minister and the President of Ukraine, we said that if this is allowed, so that it does not lead to harmful consequences," he said. Epiphanius stated in interview Radio Liberty in December 2020.
The intervention of the church in the legalization of cannabis is perplexing for the speakers we interviewed. “ГThe state must decide itself, without the intervention of the church”, - Buzhansky is sure. Igor Mosiychuk is more categorical on this issue, directly calling the OCU the “party church” of Petro Poroshenko:
"At first they are for legalization, then they will say that they are ready to consecrate same-sex marriage in the church. The OCU is a party church, many priests believed there, and Poroshenko used them. I think we need to impose a moratorium on language, faith, historical facts for 25 years - at the state level. Let everyone do their own thing, but we need to put the issues of the economy, industry, and medicine in the first place. As an Orthodox - I condemn. "
“SOROSYATS” FOR CANNABIS
Both Suprun and Epifaniy are high-level top promoters. The main movement and mass character in support of the legalization of cannabis is created by characters on a smaller scale. As the editors of Klymenko Time found out, they have a similar structure of organization and financing. However, the legalization lobbyists themselves claim that they do it exclusively for free and at the behest of the soul.
"This is the unique case when there is no sponsor and no budgets are spent on it. We promoted an anti-cannabis petition without a single penny of money”, - says Maxim Rovinsky from “100% Life” - Merezha PLHIV”.
Olga Stefanishina from Golos, when asked directly about the financing of the lobbying campaign, becomes visibly nervous. “ Nobody sponsors me. I am a people's deputy, I receive a salary in the Verkhovna Rada. Your questions are a bit biased. You are trying to make me think”, - said Olga, refusing to answer further questions from our correspondent.
However, we, Ukrainians, sponsor Olga Stefanyshina as a people's deputy when we pay taxes - and not small ones. But whose interests Olga defends as a deputy for our money, this is another question.
Before being elected to parliament from the Holos party, Stefanishina worked as the deputy of the same Ulana Suprun, and even earlier, she headed Charitable Foundation "Patients of Ukraine". In Stefanishina's declaration for 2017 Specifiedthat in this fund Olga received 817 thousand hryvnias of wages. This is almost 70 thousand hryvnia per month - quite a big salary by the standards of Ukraine.
It is unnecessary to say that this is one of the main organizations that actively lobbied for the legalization of marijuana. Where did the public organization get such money from to pay Olga and her colleagues such a solid salary? According to organization website, among the partners of the Charitable Foundation "Patients" we see in the forefront USAID - US government agency for international development - and international George Soros Renaissance Foundation.
Sponsored by these Western foundations and organization “100% life” - previously a charitable network "PLHIV - people living with HIV", whose press secretary Max Rovinsky was contacted by a Klymenko Time correspondent during a rally for legalization. And the leader of PLHIV is Dmitry Sherembey. Previously, he worked with Stefanyshina at the Patients of Ukraine Charitable Foundation. Sherembey's portfolio includes not only many joint projects and events with the same Ulana Suprun. Back in 2013, he co-founded another well-known grant structure - the Anti-Corruption Action Center, which today is headed by Vitaly Shabunin, very close to the US Chargé d'Affaires in Ukraine Christine Quinn.
Organizer "hemp marches”, which have been held annually in Ukraine since the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, an activist speaks Taras Town Hall. Would it surprise you if we say that the Ratushny also closely and closely cooperates again with Dmitry Sherembey?
A few extras at these hemp marches and actions in support of hemp are provided by activists project "Democratic sokira". The same ones that every year try to disrupt the procession of the “Immortal Regiment” by May 9th. The leader of this party Victor Tregubov publicly protects George Soros, they say they make him an enemy of the people in vain.
Responsible for the concept of shares from "Demsokira" Nazariy Sovsun, younger brother of the former Deputy Minister of Education Inna Sovsun. Now she is a deputy from the same “Voice” as Olga Stefanishina. Her brother, Nazar, was brought up at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, like other “soros”. Then a public organization was made for it, winning grants under the drug policy program.
For credibility, this lobbying system also includes anti-terrorist operations, who allegedly desperately need cannabis to treat mental illness and depression. They are represented by the DrugStore project and Artem Osipyan, who “sits” on the Swiss grant project MH4U Mental Health for Ukraine (mental health for Ukraine).
Participates in this movement for legalization and top propagandist Poroshenko Yanina Sokolova. She openly supports cannabis and promotes it as part of her project “Ya.Nina” to support cancer patients. There is nothing surprising in the fact that the Sokolova project is also funded by the Renaissance Foundation.
The foundation itself, founded by George Soros and actively working in Ukraine, has a special program - “Hromadske Zdorovya”. It is within its framework that funding is allocated to all these activists and their campaigns in support of cannabis. According to a 2019 Soros Foundation report, 23,85% of the UAH 335 million allocated to Ukraine was spent on the public health program. It's almost 80 million hryvnia.
The curators of this program in Ukraine from the Soros Foundation - Victoria Timoshevskaya и Elena Kucheruk. Timoshevskaya lobbied for the legalization of marijuana and the corresponding bill back in 2016. Kucheruk started working under the program “East-West. Partnership Without Borders” is one of the first projects of Soros in Ukraine. And in the early 2000s, people from this office landed on a European grant called the Drug Harm Reduction Program.
However, Daniil Getmantsev from the Servant of the People is sure that not only the Sorosites, but also some of his colleagues in the faction are actively seeking legalization:
"And we have deputies who are for. I think it's a matter of combining interests. I will do my best to ensure that [passing the law - ed.] Did not happen. Notice all the cynicism. They take the sick, show the picture and tell us how to save him. We must not lose our humanity”, - Hetmantsev told Klymenko Time.
WHY SOROS NEED MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
Since 1994 year billionaire George Soros, who made his fortune as a financial speculator, spent over $ 150 million on marijuana legalization campaigns around the world.
At first, within the framework of his “Open Society”, he achieved legalization in the USA (already legalized in 25 states, but not yet at the federal level), then he directed his activity to other countries. Among his victories are Uruguay and Georgia, where in 2004, after the Rose Revolution, Saakashvili and the local version of the Soros came to power. Now it's Ukraine's turn.
The legalization of cannabis is obviously part of the concept of "open society", preached by Soros. In more detail, he outlined his position on marijuana back in 2010 in article for the Wall Street Journal. Soros argues that legalization will lead to a reduction in crime, violence and corruption, as well as racial inequality.
At the same time, lobbyists for legalization in Ukraine financed by Soros deny their connection with this concept:
"We do not position the legalization of cannabis as the concept of an open society”, - Max Rovinsky from “PLHIV” told Klymenko Time. Olga Stefanishina from Golos simply refused to answer this question to our correspondent. “What is an open society - I don't understand at all”, - said the deputy from the “Voice”.
Igor Mosiychuk believes that the issue of cannabis legalization for Soros is one of the elements of the ideological struggle:
"У their interest in any issue that makes people biomass. First legalize, then same-sex marriage. They work against church institutions. And weed, as one of the elements. It's a whole ideology. Why is it beneficial? Because in the world there is a struggle between fans of conservative principles and globalists. The “Soros” tell how they are against the USSR, and I say that they want to build the USSR - only they want to build it on a global scale and with their own vision. They want to erase the national characteristics of peoples”, the politician is sure.
BILLIONS ON HEM
In the case of the legalization of cannabis, it may be not only and not so much in ideology, but in money. And very big money. "I'm just making money there, I won't look at the social consequences of what I'm doing" - claimed George Soros in one of his interviews.
Cannabis today is a truly global world market that is growing at a cosmic pace. In 2020, it was estimated at more than $20 billion. In the next ten years, this figure will increase 5 times. True, according to others estimated, it is now several times larger.
Several important developments have taken place in recent years. In 2018, marijuana was legalized in Canada. At the end of last year, it was legalized in 25 US states, but not yet at the federal level.
But here's what's more important: At the beginning of December 2020, the UN Commission excluded cannabis from the list of dangerous drugs, because it was on this list for 60 years. Interestingly, it was Ukraine that played a key role in the process. Only last year, our country received the right to vote in the "drug commission" of the UN - and immediately supported marijuana. And in parallel, “soros deputies” introduce bills to our parliament. What do you think, is it a coincidence?
Нand the background of all these processes tocannabis companies enter the stock markets and are already worthThey are worth billions of dollars. But after legalization in Canada, legal demand in the market remains limited, since the market largely depends on the legalization of the product in the US and other countries. And that is why it needs a new growth factor: new sales markets, among which Ukraine is also important.
Canadian and American companies have been eyeing Ukraine for a long time. Ukraine is interesting to them, firstly, as a sales market. Secondly, on our black soil it would be possible to grow a lot of hemp, which, as a raw product, would easily be exported. And already added value on it was obtained from processing in other countries.
Ukrainian legalization lobbyists, meanwhile, continue to focus on medical cannabis, although they confirm that they are targeting production facilities in Ukraine:
"Our bill provides for the possibility of producing such drugs on the territory of Ukraine. It will regulate the possibility of imports and national production, so I think it is maximally aimed at ensuring that patients have more access to medicines and that such medicines are manufactured, including on the territory of Ukraine", - said Stefanishina.
According to the bill "Voices", industrial hemp will be recognized as that which in dry leaves contains no more than 1% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the active narcotic substance contained in cannabis). In Europe and the USA, this rate should not exceed 0,3%. Thus, there is a possibility that real drugs will be grown in Ukraine under the guise of industrial marijuana. This is confirmed by our editors and narcologist Vladislav Sova.
"The drug cannabis itself is a plant that contains THC of varying concentrations. All cannabis contains THC and will be grown with that content. Therefore, no matter what kind of cannabis we grow, it will in any case contain a narcotic compound that needs to be filtered and removed. But who will do it?” the expert asks. He is sure that under the guise of helping sick people, an attempt is being made to legalize the cultivation of cannabis culture in Ukraine in order to sell it on the black market.
IMPACT ON UKRAINIAN DRUG BARONS
Another argument of supporters of legalization: in Ukraine, there is already a large shadow market, it needs to be brought to light. According to some reports, now the shadow market is several tens of billions of hryvnia annually. Lobbyists for the law argue that gradual legalization will allow at least partially transferring financial flows to the legal sphere, taxing the industry, and creating new industries and jobs.
Now they are engaged in illegal cultivation of marijuana criminal authorities of the south of Ukraine, in the first place - the Odessa region. And it's not a secret for anyone that the roof of this activity is provided by law enforcement agencies.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov continues to block consideration of cannabis legalization at the government level.
"It is a fact that the police protect drugs on the ground. But if this law is passed, protection protection will not go anywhere, because the law does not provide for free trade. It's more about the quality of the police. Are there corrupt police officers in America, Europe? Of course there is. Are they covering drugs? Yes! Only the ratio ... we have it huge, but they don't. This is not a reason for legalization, this is a reason to work on the quality of the police”, - Igor Mosiychuk is sure.
However, both Igor Mosiychuk and Max Buzhansky are sure that, despite all the arguments against it, the chances of passing a law on the legalization of cannabis this year are extremely high.
Although, according to Buzhansky, the issue of cannabis is not relevant at all for ordinary Ukrainians:
"Just go to any village. Ask what you miss, cannabis? They will say: yes, of course, we do not have enough cannabis. Problems with housing and communal services, no money for equipping school classes, no work. The problem with the lack of cannabis is not worth it. Once again, do we want Afghanistan? We want the streets of Amsterdam and Berlin, where do stoned youth stand? Note that in this story, the phrase about the sick sounds in the first 15 minutes, and it is never returned to. Then stories begin about the fact that this is money, that in Europe it has long been possible to do this. They begin to list the list of countries where it is possible. But the list of countries where this is not allowed is not listed, although it is much more impressive. There is blatant speculation with the suffering of cancer patients. You can't put the genie back in the bottle."
HOW LEGALIZATION WILL AFFECT THE SITUATION WITH DRUG ADDICTION
A separate question is how legalization will affect the situation with drug addiction in our country. Proponents of legalization usually equate cannabis with cigarettes and alcohol. And they say that the number of drug addicts will not increase after legalization.
"We do not believe that this can lead to an increase in drug addicts in this country, because today drug addicts have access to drugs. And people who do not have access to medicines do not have it. You don't say that you can buy morphine. The number of drug addicts in this country will increase due to the fact that morphine can be bought?” says legalize supporter Max Rovinsky.
Vladislav Sova, a narcologist, strongly disagrees with this position. He is sure that the real situation with drug addiction in Ukraine is actually hushed up. And most of his patients enter treatment just after using marijuana.
"If earlier they made money on drug addicts, but at least they said that they need help, now they just make money on them. The state has taken such a position for itself that there are drug addicts, they will always be. But when we touch on the topic of drug addiction, we touch on someone's business interests. Speaking in fact, 70% of patients who come to my clinic for treatment with delusions, hallucinations, with debuts of schizophrenia use marijuana, nothing else”, says the doctor.
The doctor is sure that the legalization of cannabis will lead to an increase in the number of drug addicts. “It will boom, permissive drug use. The limiting factor is criminal liability. If it is removed, the use will increase a thousand times, which means that I will have more patients.e,” Vladislav Sova is sure.
The doctor reminds about the negative consequences after the legalization of methadone:
"The same was done with methadone, 10 years ago. It was legalized, and now 90% of drug addicts use what? Methadone. Why? It is produced in our country and thrown onto the black market, it is available everywhere. Plus, a huge number of “medical” companies have opened that provide assistance in substitution therapy for patients. As the law says: HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis. There is a small contingent of patients to whom it can be prescribed. And in our country, methadone is also prescribed to alcoholics if they come and money is paid for it.".
Vladislav Sova is sure that the legalization of cannabis will hit, first of all, the future generation of Ukrainians - teenagers. “We will just raise a nation of morons,” he sums up.
We have tried in this material to collect different positions and show different opinions on the topic of legalization. And, most importantly, to demonstrate who needs the rapid legalization of cannabis in Ukraine and why. The position of our editorial staff is unequivocal: if the issue is being lobbied by the Soros, and they are doing it actively, it will not lead to anything good.
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