Belarus

Europe's 'last dictatorship' finally bans cannabis cultivation

Posted on January 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

EuropeFrom Russian state media outlet Sputnik comes the surprising news that Belarus has banned cannabis cultivation with a Dec. 31 decree from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The surprise isn't that growing was banned—but that it hadn't been banned already. The former Soviet republic's best claim to fame is as "Europe's last dictatorship." Strongman Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for over 20 years now, resorting to probable fraud and definite repression to hold on to the presidency. After Lukashenko was accused of stealing the 2010 elections, there was a popular protest movement, put down wth mass arrests—with the opposition candidate himself sentenced to prison for inciting riots! No surprise that Lukashenko was "re-elected" with virtually no opposition in 2015. In last September's parliamentary elections, a few opposition candidates were for the first time allowed to take seats, leading some Belarus-watchers to hope for a "thaw." But Lukashenko is still running a very tight ship. Not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to be cannabis-friendly.

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