Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2003
Source: de Volkskrant (Netherlands)
Contact:  2003, de Volkskrant
Note: The Second Chamber is the Dutch House of Commons. Currently a new
coalition cabinet is being formed. Translation from Dutch by Harry Bego.
Political Party names with a notation of "hb" inserted for clarification.


THE HAGUE - A large majority of the Second Chamber supports the plea of the
Maastricht Court president Lampe for legalisation of soft drugs. Only CDA
(Christian democrats - hb) wants to keep marijuana and hash under criminal
law to prevent the Netherlands from being flooded by drug tourists.

Only CDA wants to keep hash under criminal law. CDA advocates strict
adherence to current tolerance policy. "We must tune our drug policy with
neighbouring countries. Otherwise we only import more drugs misery", CDA mp
Van Haersma Buma says. VVD (liberal conservatives - hb) mp Griffith states
that the opinions of Judge Lampe are in full agreement with the opinions of
her party. "Drugs are a part of our society, you have to live with that."

Court president Lampe Last weekend criticised the clogging of the judicial
system by the large amount of drugs cases. Other serious crimes remain
unsanctioned or their trials are greatly delayed. Lampe thinks that
legalisation of drugs, starting with soft drugs, can help.

PvdA, VVD, SP, LPF, GroenLinks and D66 support the plea by Lampe with
respect to marijuana and hash. "Wise words from a man who knows", PvdA
(labour party - hb) mp Albayrak says. Two years ago a proposal by PvdA to
legalise soft drugs achieved a minute majority. "But the government refused
to do anything with it. We call upon the new cabinet-to-be to take this
almost Chamber-wide desire seriously".

Intended CDA coalition partner VVD shares that opinion. Spokesperson
Griffith however thinks that as many allies as possible must be found in
Europe and the rest of the world. United Nations treaties at the moment
hinder the depenalisation of sale, trade and production of soft drugs.

The third candidate government party, D66 (liberal democrats - hb), has been
in favor of the legalisation of soft drugs for years. "In that way one cuts
organised crime off", faction leader and former Judge Dittrich says.
Moreover, by legalising production, state control over thc-content, the
active ingredient in marijuana, is enabled. Dittrich: "And that is necessary
too. Soft drugs are becoming ever stronger".

LPF (List Pim Fortuyn - hb) prefers to hand over the sale of soft drugs to
pharmacists. "We don't want to place it next to the sweets in the
supermarket. Otherwise you'll be causing all young people to use drugs", LPF
mp Eerdmans thinks.
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