The Vilnius street artists that brought us murals like “the Putin and Trump kiss” and “The party is over” have decided to tell us all the truth about cannabis. On the 15th of August, the assumptions day, the anarchist district Užupis announced it is liberalizing cannabis.
The mural was unveiled in a ceremony near the Užupis art incubator. Around 200 spectators and supporters gathered to drink some cannabis tea and enjoy the newest street art in Lithuania’s capital.
In addition to that, the second part of the event included firing up the sculpture of the angel blowing a trumpet, which looked like the angel was smoking a joint.
Lithuania’s current legislation is a failed strategy, not leading us anywhere. The fight against drugs hasn’t reduced consumption, and it has increased harm by causing drugs to be sold in an uncontrolled black market.
The mural’s co-creator, Dominykas Čečkauskas, stated in an interview that: “an estimated 10% of the Lithuanian population have tried smoking weed or are smoking it regularly, which is a pretty big crowd of people, who have a direct interest in cannabis and there is zero representation from the political elite and also zero attempt to solve the issues of illegal consumption of psychoactive substances.” According to him “ In soviet times we used to have a repressive regime, that used to create criminals out of people who have done nothing wrong, now we have politicians who are still doing the same with people who are not committing a crime.” As it was written in the mural, it is necessary to mention that current laws in Lithuania can give an individual up to two years imprisonment for possession of weed.
The opening of the mural wasn’t just an event, it was a statement. The author of the mural Rūta Jankauskaitė described the meaning of mural by saying, “It represents classical painting Liberty leading the people, which was painted about French revolution, so we have portrayed our own revolution, against the government and against the laws. People that are painted in the revolution are those who need cannabis.” As Dominykas Čečkauskas continued, “ the main character is the liberty that is holding a symbol of weed in her hand, there is also a child that is sick with cancer that represents people who need cannabis for treatment. War veterans in the mural portray those who have been in war and have post traumatic stress disorder and one of the ways for treatment, without using addictive opioids, is usage of cannabis. There is also Snoop Dogg – represents businessman, who shows that problem that currently cost us money can be solved and made in something that brings us money.” All in all, showing that there is a group of people that need this revolution to happen.
The statement of a cannabis revolution is supposed to encourage dialogue for drug liberalization in countries with Soviet hangovers.
We still live in a world of myths in our society that encourage people to think of cannabis users as drug addicts who are more likely to commit a crime and are doing harm for society. This kind of event encourages busting the myths, raising the discussion and starting a constructive dialogue.
Roberta Dombrovskytė is the Vilnius Students for Liberty Communication manager and a Public policy and Management graduate from Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania.