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reaction Sun Vancouver July 06]

To: The redaction of The Vancouver Sun

Re: UN drug report unintentionally argues against prohibition   

In response to The Vancouver Sun Wednesday, June 28, 2006 articles regarding UN drug report unintentionally argues against prohibition:

The 2006 World Drugs report from the UNODC shows a global increase of marijuana use. "Marijuana potency has increased dramatically in the last decade in the three countries at the vanguard of cannabis breeding and production technology -- the United States , Canada and the Netherlands " According to the writer of the article, “But we can blame the rise in marijuana potency directly on the war on drugs.”

As a Dutch citizen I ask myself, to which war on drugs does the writer refer? In the Netherlands we do not have a war on drugs. On the contrary there is a decriminalization or, let me say, semi-legalization on cannabis products since 1976. Consequently our youngsters grow up with the idea that cannabis use is OK. People reason, if cannabis is dangerous to my health, our government would protect me from the drug.

But the Dutch politicians are not taking responsibility and they tolerate cannabis. Their policy gave way to the illegal drug business. Dutch society built up tolerance to cannabis on false evidence; not only in the form of having tolerated a large cannabis industry but, tolerance and addiction in the users bodies as well. That's one of the reasons cannabis users in the Netherlands have needed a to develop higher THC cannabis.

Hashish and marijuana from the 1960s and 1970s contained between 0.1 percent to 2 percent THC. Improved hemp plants now produce hashish and marijuana with THC between 5 percent and 25 percent, averaging 8.5 percent.  The cannabis industry has created a market with a higher THC in cannabis so users’ dependencies increase and require more drugs to get high.

The brain's pleasure center doesn't care what it is dependent upon. Unchecked desire, heightened tolerance and withdrawal symptoms without the drug, define dependence. A dependent person is generally not able to break the destructive cycle with self-knowledge alone.

Poly drug use is very common in the Netherlands and creates more business for the illegal drug business.  The Netherlands misleads the world by semi-legalizing cannabis as a soft, "semi-harmful" drug.  Everyone knows how harmful tobacco smoking is, and how difficult it is to quit. Smoking is the same. Compulsion is a characteristic of all dependencies and marijuana causes dependency.

The annual report of the UNODC shows an increase in acute health episodes related to marijuana use. This is also seen in the Netherlands . That's why I agree with the UNODC that we globally should care more about preventing cannabis use.

By doing so, we can stop the cannabis industry and support our youth.
Renée Besseling
Secretary General EURAD