Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle 4/4/03

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After more than two years of indecision, the Belgian parliament took final action last week to approve legalizing the personal use of marijuana by persons over 18. As DRCNet reported in February (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/276.html#belgium), the lower house had approved the measure. Last week, the Belgian senate weighed in, too, lending its support by a vote of 30-19.

Under the legislation, marijuana users will be able to use and possess up to five grams of the herb without any punishment -- unless police accuse them of disturbing the public order. Sale of marijuana, however, will remain illegal and authorities have vowed not to allow the emergence of Dutch-style coffee shops selling over-the-counter weed. Instead, Belgian officials have suggested that marijuana consumers visit the Netherlands or grow their own.

The vote came with the approval of the ruling coalition of the Liberal, Socialist and Green parties, which has been working on the issue since 2001.

The Belgian Embassy Thursday could not tell DRCNet when the law would go into effect.

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Issue #281, 4/4/03 Week Online Fundraising Update | Editorial: Reasonable Doubt Routinely | Victory in Tulia! | Rosenthal Asks for New Trial, Cites Juror Violations | Drug Czar Gives Up on Drugs and Terror Ad Campaign, Also Cancels Studies to Track Ads' Effectiveness | Drug Czar Sends Flunkies to Try to Stop Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Initiative | DRCNet Interview: Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament | Newsbrief: Reform Rumblings Begin in Brazil, While Commands Create Chaos | Newsbrief: Post-Assassination Serbian Crackdown Creates Drug Panic | Newsbrief: Jamaican Official Promises Ganja Decrim Bill Soon | Newsbrief: Belgian Marijuana Decriminalization Passes Final Hurdle | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Indiana | Newsbrief: Midwest Meth Madness -- Iowa and Illinois | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Web Scan: New HR95, JAPHA on Syringe Sales, Reason, Mama Coca, OAS | Clinical Cannabis Conference CDs Available | Job Listings: Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless | The Reformer's Calendar
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