Call to legalise cannabis possession for youths

14th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

14 February 2006, BRUSSELS — The Socialist PS party has thrown the nation's drugs policy back on the agenda by urging the decriminalisation of cannabis possession for youths.

14 February 2006

BRUSSELS — The Socialist PS party has thrown the nation's drugs policy back on the agenda by urging the decriminalisation of cannabis possession for youths.

The Francophone Socialists are urging for more information campaigns and have proposed taking cannabis out of the criminal world for anyone aged 16 or older.

The party suggested allowing possession of 5g or less, but stressed the proposal was open for amendment. The idea is designed to shield people from the criminal world.

In combination with this policy, the PS has also proposed introducing "an improved version of the Dutch model with coffee shops".

The Dutch government applies an official policy of toleration towards coffee shops which sell marijuana and allow users to smoke it on their premises.

The idea is that soft drugs users do not come into contact with hard drugs or the criminal world.

"Drugs are too much of a serious problem for a politician to do nothing about," PS chairman Elio Di Rupo said.

Di Rupo's proposals come after confusion has been reported in recent years around Belgium's drug laws.

The federal government's May 2003 legislation states that police may not issue a summons to adults found in possession of cannabis. A ministry guideline placed the limit at 3g.

However, the Court of Arbitration abolished part of the legislation, ruling that adult cannabis users did not know clearly enough what the regulations were.

It said the legal amount of cannabis users may possess should be enacted in law, rather than a ministry guideline.
 
At the start of 2005, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and the attorneys-general proposed new guidelines in which personal use of cannabis by adults would be afforded the lowest prosecution priority.

However, the guidelines did not constitute a definite amendment to the nation's laws and the PS has now proposed a review of the nation's drug policies.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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