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Belgium: Government should cultivate and market cannabis

Tuesday 30 Apr 2013

The Leuven toxicologist Jan Tytgat has proposed that the Belgian authorities should set up a pilot project and market cannabis on their own behalf.

The scientist argues that this would help to counter the growth of illegal cannabis plantations in Belgium and provide guarantees for the quality of the drug.

Jan Tytgat regularly receives samples of cannabis seized at the growing number of illegal cannabis plantations in the country. His job is to carry out a toxicological examination of the drug.

Jan Tytgat: "We are failing to tackle the problem adequately and we should ask ourselves: 'isn't our repressive approach costing too much and failing to yield sufficient results'.

"Given this I can think of a number of arguments, including scientific ones, which could suggest a pilot project for the legalisation of cannabis, albeit under strict conditions."

Under the proposals not everybody would be allowed to cultivate cannabis, but it would be the job of the Belgian authorities to establish a system for the cultivation of cannabis.

Jan Tytgat: "The advantage of a system like this will be that the concentration of the active ingredient THC will be known, no pesticides or other rubbish will be present and that duty can be levied on the users in a completely legal fashion."

There could be a clamp down on everything outside the legal system. Since the Dutch came down hard on their own plantations, the illegal industry has switched to Belgium.

The Belgian Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx (Francophone socialist) is not ruling out a pilot project. She says that Belgium's cannabis policies have failed and tat alternatives should be considered: "We should think about it together with the experts, but our policy has partly failed and this has dangerous ramifications."




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