Pubdate: Wed, 6 Sep 2000
Source: Radio 1 (The Netherlands)
Note: Transcript & translation by: Harry Bego  Headline by me.  Gutersloh is in central Germany north of Buren where 
I lived for a number of years. My son went to high school in Gutersloh. - 
Richard Lake


Transcript of  5pm news item:

RADIO 1 NEWS: "Next spring there will be a European conference on the use 
of cannabis. The gathering is an initiative of Minister Borst, in 
cooperation with Germany and Switzerland. According to the Minister, in 
many European countries, thinking is getting more and more balanced about 
the harmfulness of cannabis, and this should be reflected in policies."

Transcript of an interview Borst gave on Radio 1 later this evening:

BORST: "I want to organize this conference because I think that it is 
necessary to once again make up an assessment of the science, let 
scientists answer the question what is known about the harm to health by 
cannabis in adolescents and in adults. I think there is a difference there, 
that it might perhaps be more harmful for adolescents than for adults. At 
the same time, what do we know about the use of cannabis, marijuana, as 
medicine, and to what change in our policy should this lead.

Radio 1: "So this is both a scientific and a political conference?"

BORST: "Yes, and in fact, how can we, if we want to make policies on a 
scientific basis, which is what the three of us would very much like, what 
are the messages the scientists can bring to us now about cannabis and how 
can we translate that in our policy."

Radio 1: "And your colleagues agreed?"

BORST: "Yes they both were enthusiastic, Mrs. Dreyfuss said that in 
Switzerland at the issue of cannabis use by adults a more liberal policy 
was desired, because it is thought that the harm to health is much less 
than for example harm from smoking, they have not made any steps yet but 
these are some thoughts, which is why they were very enthusiastic about the 
idea to bring science and governments together and discuss this issue 

Radio 1: "How did you get the idea to make this invitation?"

BORST: "Well, because I sense that people are dealing a little bit less 
spastically with cannabis, cannabis used to be a big enemy ten years ago, 
and every Minister had just one goal and that was, eradicate, the whole 
lot. We see that in many countries in Europe people have reached the 
conclusion that, errm, moderate use of cannabis in particular by adults is 
not our biggest problem, that it isn't such a big health problem at all. 
The question then of course always arises, shouldn't we spend the money 
that we now put into the fight against use by adults, mustn't we spend it 
chiefly on hard drugs, because hard drugs are a very serious threat to the 
health of our young people, but to that of our adults as well, so xtc, 
heroin, is a bit on the way out, but cocaine is on the rise again, I would 
like to direct energies more to that and then perhaps a little less on 
cannabis, but I don't want to do that on my own in the Netherlands, this 
sort of steps must be done in Europe, anyway with a number of authoritative 
countries, and Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, then we have 
three firm ones, but I will surely invite the other colleagues as well, for 
example my French colleague, and the other member states.

Radio 1: "And anyway you see a sort of growing consensus in Europe, to 
bring about a change at this point?"

BORST: "Yes. To dare stating the question aloud, anyway, that is always the 
beginning of all wisdom, and where this will eventually lead, we shall have 
to see next spring."

The conference will be held in Gutersloh in Germany.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake