European Commission study: tough approach to soft drugs not effective

11 December 2010

European Commission study: tough approach to soft drugs not effective

The European Commission today responded to questions from the SP by announcing a follow-up study on the effectiveness of drugs policy in the European Union member states. A previous piece of expert research demonstrated clearly that criminalisation and a tougher approach to the soft drugs trade represent a misguided approach: drug use does not diminish and the nuisance and costs to society increase. ´The Dutch government, partly as a result of pressure from the EU, is imposing austerity policies,’ says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘European research indicates that legalisation of the controlled production and sale of soft drugs does not lead to more drug use, and at the same time would produce a great deal of revenue for the state. It would also free up more police officers for other work if they didn’t have to concern themselves with minor drug-related offences.’

Dennis de JongAssertive
‘The Commission might well be more assertive on this point’, says De Jong, who insists that he is not saying that the EU should dictate our drugs policy, but points out that ‘the Commission has figures to hand which could contribute to the drugs debate in the EU. As things stand many member states are trying to outdo each other with the harshness of their policies, despite the fact that such policies are demonstrably ineffective. This report and a follow-up study will at least provide a scientific basis for the discussion.’

Economic effects
The regularisation of the soft drug market would also be positive for the economy. In addition to lowering the costs to the authorities, regularisation would, according to research by economist Martijn Boermans of the Hogeschool van Utrecht (Utrecht Polytechnic), bring in some €850 million p.a. in VAT receipts alone. This is quite apart from the positive results for the labour market should cultivation be legalised and a great deal of work now performed outside the formal economy become formalised.

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