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People and Politics Forum 31. 03. 2008

"Are tougher laws required to stop home-grown cannabis production?"

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More information:

Cannabis - How Germany became a producer country

Germany's narcotics investigators are increasingly being called out to inoffensive looking old factories or unused school buildings. The reason is that they are being used as places to grown cannabis. The recreational drug is as popular as ever but less quantities are being imported than ever before. There's no need to as, according to experts, several hundred tons of the drug are produced in Germany illegally every year. The government in Berlin now recognises that it has spent years underestimating the drug's dangers.

Our Question is:

"Are tougher laws required to stop home-grown cannabis production?"

Stephan Pabel, in Brazil says:

"No, using state pressure won't stop illegal cannabis production. Information is better, in conjunction with that other drug, alcohol, which receives greater acceptance within society but is nevertheless just as dangerous. And credibility is at stake."

Walter Eschweiler, Peru:

"It's time finally to legalise the drug trade, under certain conditions, which would lower profits and remove the attraction of illegality both for dealers and buyers. That would free up money used on drug enforcement which could then be used to contain damage caused by consumption. And in Third World countries, producers could be helped by buying large quantities of other farm produce."

Joseph Anderson, USA:

"I think it's stupid for goverments to treat marijuana like narcotic drugs. It's a drug that is demonstrably much less harmful and costly to society than cigarettes and alcohol or abusively inhaling glue and other household chemicals. Marijuana is a mild natural substance that no one has ever directly, documentably, died from, unlike nicotine-boosted cigarettes, cigars, tobacco pipe smoking, and alcohol...The criminalization of marijuana causes greater personal dislocation and social disruption than the use itself."

Till Kohler, Germany:

"Drugs have been consumed by human, and animals, for thousands of years now. Banning it doesn't usually help much, and only strengthens the shadow economy. I think legalisationt and information work is much better...Clamp taxes on drugs, but look after those poor, deprived consumers suffering under excessive drug use. And shut down the cash flow for terrorists and criminal networks."

Gerhard Seeger, Philippines:

"Information campaigns have been going on for decades now, and haven't worked. In fact, dealers and their clients have learnt to improve their methods. I'm not usually a supporter of state sanctions but sometimes there's no other way. Stricter measures against users are also needed, in my opinion, because they ensure demand...and that it's legal to have small amounts of hashish in ones possession is just not to be believed!"

Rolf Bockmühl, Philippines:

"Informing people properly is the only way forward, helping the unaware to avoid making mistakes. Strict bans don't help in our society, and the number one drug - alcohol - is still happily "enjoyed"...Can the state, with an iron fist, compete against that? No, only the enlightened person...knows what's best for him and others."

Claus Stauffenberg, Australia:

"The large scale production, distribution and selling of
cannabis should be the target of anti-drug laws, as these
groups or individuals often hold interests counter to the
state's legal authority. Those who grow only for personal
use, pose no significant threat, and should
not be lumped together with other criminal enterprises."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to abridge and edit texts.