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The following article appeared in Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch national newspaper, April 1st. Interview with Freek Polak, of Dutch Drug Policy Foundation, a member or our coalition.

(c) Algemeen Dagblad, Amsterdam.

Action for legalization of drugs

"Repression is a big mistake"

AMSTERDAM - In over 25 cities in 16 countries, among which Amsterdam, there will be actions for legalization of drugs on June 6th, 7th and 8th. The worldwide struggle against the anti-drug war, the "Global Days against the Drug War", is taking place on the eve of the three-day meeting of the United Nations about global drug policy. It is a sequel to the international actions last year during the European Summit in Amsterdam.

The aim is to convince public opinion and authorities of the need to legalize drugs. Originally, the UN was going to take a critical look at current anti-drug policies. This point has been removed from the agenda, however. The UN will only discuss the question whether all countries have in the past years kept to the agreed repression of drugs.

"When proponents of drug legalization realised what the UN wants to talk about, they have united into an alliance", says F. Polak of the Drug Policy Foundation in Amsterdam. "It is incredible that in New York there will be no evaluation of the effectiveness of current policy." Polak is not unsatisfied with the Dutch policy of tolerance. "Elsewhere, we see a lot of appreciation for the Dutch system, in health care and at lower levels of administration, but political authorities are afraid. In fact a few prominent politicians should have the courage to say that the repression of drugs has been a big mistake. Then public opinion will be won in no time. At the moment people are so misinformed. Even the health organisation of the UN has problems in bringing out that alcohol is much more damaging than cannabis."

After legalization, the social consequences of drug use would be much smaller, according to Polak. "Repression of drugs stimulates illegal trade, crime, and unsafe patterns of use. The profits that go to criminals now, can be used in much better ways. If the UN realises that a discussion is needed about policy as carried out so far, we will have reached our goal".

On June 6th there will be a musical parade in the center of Amsterdam, and a major party at night. A political debate in Krasnapolsky, on June 7th, will be the culmination of the Dutch actions. The grand final will be a day later, in New York with a big demonstration at the square in front of the UN building. There are actions in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Sidney and other cities as well.

(c) Algemeen Dagblad, Amsterdam.