Saturday 19 October 2019

GroenLinks MP calls on government to regulate ecstasy production

Photo: DEA

The government should regulate the production of party drug ecstasy to remove it from the criminal circuit, GroenLinks parliamentarian Kathalijne Buitenweg says in Monday’s Volkskrant.

‘The government does not have to make the pills itself but should regulate production,’ to make sure they meet proper quality standards, Buitenweg said.

‘It is not just a question of health but a question of doing something about the worrying increase in criminal power,’ she told the paper.

The MP wants the government to take the initiative to revise UN drugs treaties, and points out that the World Health Organisation has also called for a revision of the way drugs are ranked as dangerous.

‘We have to ask ourselves what the treaties have delivered,’ she said. ‘Has usage gone down. Is there less crime? I don’t think so.

Earlier this year, Amsterdam police chief Erik Akerboom said more should be done to counteract the ‘normalisation’ of drug use and that users are supporting violent crime. And justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus has warned that drugs money is being used to undermine the legal economy.

Brabant

The situation is particularly acute in the south of the country, in Noord-Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland. Last year, police broke up 127 drugs labs in Brabant and 57 in Limburg, compared with 136 in the rest of the country.

Breda mayor Paul Depla also told the Volkskrant the government should take a stand.

‘Give me one argument why alcohol is freely available and ecstasy is banned?’ he said. ‘I am only saying what experts say, that ecstasy is not as dangerous as alcohol.’

Depla is at the forefront of local authority efforts to bring in regulated marijuana production in the Netherlands.

Coalition

Representatives of the four coalition parties later dismissed the call for regulated ecstasy production out of hand.

‘It is as if you are talking about smarties, not drugs. It is dangerous stuff, ‘ VVD MP Antoinette Laan told the AD. While welcoming GroenLinks’ input to try to solve the problem, Laan said that this is not an option. ‘We want extra police manpower instead,’ she said.

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