Tunisia, the first country to rise up and throw off its long dictatorship when revolution began to sweep the Arab world in 2011, is seen as the success story of the Arab Spring. With a new secular constitution, progressive forces have prevailed peacefully over an Islamist backlash. Rappers and feminist artists have become icons of the revolution. Now, Green Rush Daily reports that the Pirate Party of Tunisia has chosen to use the marijuana leaf as its identifying logo on the country’s ballot. It cites a write-up in Pirate Times, international organ of the movement, that "the Pirate Party of Tunisia has decided to participate in the next elections by highlighting the hemp symbol on its lists, which will attract the voters of those who support this cause."
This cause includes cannabis decriminalization. "Earlier the main political parties have committed to address this. However, the State has been passive regarding the revision of Law 52 on consumption of illegal substances. This law has been used to incarcerate more than 1,500 youths since the last elections in 2014," writes Pirate Times.
Current law in Tunisia imposes a minimum of one-year prison term for cannabis consumption, presumably in any quantity. Not surprisingly, Pirate Times tells us the law "is used to harass dissidents." But the Pirate Party of Tunisia "has decided to participate in the next elections by highlighting the hemp symbol on its lists, which will attract the voters of those who support this cause."
It would be fitting if the birthplace of the Arab Spring were the first country in the Arab world to decriminalize.
The Pirate Party International website informs us that the global movement—headquartered in Belgium and with 41 affiliates worldwide—supports "human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital age, consumer and authors rights-oriented reform of copyright and related rights, support for information privacy, transparency and free access to information." The "name "Pirates" itself is a "reappropriation of the title that was given to Internet users by the representatives of the music and film industries, and do not refer to any illegal activity."
Cross-post to High Times