In late January, the Belgian
government moved to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana
and earlier this month, the Belgian parliament gave preliminary approval
to the move. In a 75-40 vote, parliament agreed that Belgians will
be allowed to possess up to five grams of marijuana and grow one plant
without criminal penalties.
Belgium will not follow the
Dutch model and allow for the open sales of marijuana. Belgian authorities
did, however, note that their citizens could travel to the Netherlands
to procure the herb. Belgians who want to obtain marijuana could
"grow it for yourself or buy it in the Netherlands," said Consumer Affairs
and Health Ministry spokesman Paul Geerts.
The move comes nearly two
years after the Belgian parliament formally called on prosecutors and judges
to "no longer interfere in the lives of people who use cannabis on a personal
basis and who do not create harm or do not show dependence."
Marijuana trafficking, public
use of marijuana, and use in the presence of a minor will continue to be
prosecuted. "This is a policy that is being followed in many of the
countries in the European Union," said Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.
"We are not penalizing individual users of cannabis, but we are concentrating
on production, distribution or problematic use."
-- END --
Issue #276, 2/28/03
Peruvian Government Attacks Cocalero Movement -- Leaders Arrested, Others in Hiding as Protests Spread | The Road to Vienna: International Narcotics Control Board Annual Report Attacks Reformers, Reformers Scratch Back | Ashcroft's Pipe Dream, Bongmaker's Nightmare: Feds Arrest 55 in Paraphernalia Crackdown | Parallel Power Flexes Muscle in Brazil: Rio's Drug Commands in Pre-Carnival Show of Force | In Thailand, Clamor for Investigation Grows as Killings of Drug Suspects Continue | Marijuana at the State House 2003:00:00 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly | Alert: HEA Reform Legislation Re-filed, Needs Your Support | Mérida Footage, Photos Now Online | Newsbrief: Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Coop Head Gets Three Months in Jail for Trying to Inform Jurors | Newsbrief: Belgium to Legalize Marijuana Possession, Use | Newsbrief: Switzerland Marijuana Legalization Moving, Opposition Mobilizes | Newsbrief: "Kiddie Meth" Legislation Spreads to Illinois, Missouri | Newsbrief: MPP Releases TV Ads on Harms of Marijuana Prohibition in Third Phase of Group's "War on Drug Czar" Campaign | Newsbrief: Utah Drugged Driving Bill is DOA in House | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | The Reformer's Calendar
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