This article is a response to and protests against the words of the (demissionary) Pime-minister (minister-president) of The Netherlands, and the proposed shift in policy debated in the second chamber (Parlement, or senate in the UK and us). It is therefore possible to perceive it as a rant, and could express opinions and views that are opposed to those held by you the reader. If such things (opposing views and opinions) cause you to be offended or get angry, please do not read it.
The elections were 6 months ago, 2 months after our government fell (resigned) because of the scandalous treatment of thousands of citizens by the Taxation authority in the Netherlands (compatible with IRS). Nevertheless, the government resigned, there were elections but is still in power until a coalition government can be formed. Which does not seem likely anytime soon. (Remind me never ever to make fun of the Belgian government again).
This, officially no longer in service, the government has yesterday presented the budget and planning for the coming year of governing. The debate about that in the 2nd chamber had one of the party leaders in the opposition (the second-largest party in the Netherlands) pose a question to the (demissionary) leader of our nation. The answer shocked me, offended me, and angered me. I could not NOT write an article about it, and I could not wait until my anger and emotion were calmed a bit. Here is the result of it, I hope you enjoy reading it.
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It's just one of those periods I guess in which everything has priority pretty over anything but still I manage to get myself so worked up about something that's never ever going to be anything I have any influence over but nevertheless cannot go on to something else before slapping my never humble opinion (no reason for humility, my opinion is the only one that matters, and infallible) somewhere on the net where everyone can then ignore it.
Yeah, I'm obviously neurotic and triggerable at some level, being triggered right now makes it kind of pointless to not admit that.
And what, oh please inform us, is this something I'm so worked up about then, you may ask?
The demissionary prime-minister of the constitutional monarchy the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Mark Rutten, has said in the ABP (the debate in the government about the budget for the coming year that he considers "everybody that snorts a line or takes a few hard drugs once in a while are idiots who are responsible for and partaking in the hard organized crime world that surrounds the international drugs crime trade" According to him it is those "idiots" (a true 100% translation of his words) are part of and responsible for the liquidations, intimidations, extortions, smuggling, and production as well as all other crime associated with the drugs trade.
"The idiots should realize they're contributing to the suffering of thousands and thousands of people across the globe," he said when asked by one of the more rightwing party's leaders, Geert Wilders of the PVV (Party for Freedom) if the extra budget for security and crime-fighting would be used to implement a zero-tolerance policy on drugs so that even those carrying or using one or two lines of cocaine would be arrested and prosecuted and punished if caught.
At first, I thought it was a joke, both the question asked and the answer is given. For decades the Netherlands was famed for its progressive drugs policies, which had such good results that the rest of the world has by now past us and left us behind when it comes to progressiveness and sensibility of the drugs policies. Canada, most of the US, a couple of South American countries have long since gone and legalized recreational use of cannabis and other substances considered class 2 drugs, ie. light drugs.
But we can still to this day see and suffer the consequences that the US's War On Drugs has inflicted upon our world. Jails in the US are still full of people convicted for minor drug offenses (700.000). Also, countries in South America are suffering greatly from the drug Kartel's power and violent oppression. And to be sure the international drug trade is a harsh and deadly world that causes much suffering and death and is something the world would do good to get rid of. And the argument that the demand for drugs is part of the reasons it still exists does have some level of truth. But it is turning things around from reality on a sickening and disconcerting level.
You see the only reason that criminals, and later organized crime, busied themselves in the production, transportation, and distribution of drugs was not that it was drugs. It was because as drugs were illegal, they were profitable. The price of drugs rose in parallel with the illegality of it and the prosecution of those involved with drugs. The first drug Kartel on the planet was the British East India Company who was so ruthless that they actually pressured the United Kingdom to go to actual WAR with another nation to protect their profitable opium trade with China. When they won the so-called 1st opium war, they forced China to retract the prohibition of Opium in China and the UK could continue to supply the Optium on which they had a monopoly.
It is undeniable that the prohibition and prosecution of the drugs and those involved with them are what made drugs as lucrative as they did. And that, not the line or two cocaine someone uses once a week or the pill of XTC a raver takes once in a while at a party that is responsible for the organized criminal organization's willingness to use so much violence and death to secure the continuity of their criminal enterprises. If drugs had not been prohibited, and so relentlessly hunted and fought by the governments then they would not have been anywhere near as profitable as they have become. They would have in fact been totally useless to criminal organizations, as they'd be taxed and subject to regulation as any other product. If there's no money to be made then no criminal is going to be involved in it.
Another poignant fact everyone should but never seems to realize is that the prohibition of drugs and the declaration of war on them have been spearheaded by and championed by politicians and government institutions while enjoying copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol has been scientifically proven to be one of the most if not the most harmful drugs known to man. Alcohol is physically addictive, it destroys brain cells (which is what makes us feel good when drinking it, that destruction of brain cells) and can cause acute liver failure, heart failure, and brain tumors, something science has proven that cannabis is incapable of.
But with the war on drugs, ie. the zero-tolerance policy, having had its pique in the mid to late 90's and more and more people were coming to their senses (read: More and more white people in the USA became the victims of the zero-tolerance and landed in jail) the voices of reason began to be able to be heard, no longer hopelessly drowned out by hysteria of the proponents of the war on drugs and those who profited from that same war. And those same voices were saying that almost every argument used to rationalize and justify the war on drugs had been debunked by scientific studies and if that would not be sufficient to convince someone of the criminality and evilness of the war on drugs then those sensible voices would call out to take a look at the Netherlands. They had unofficially legalized cannabis and hashish decades ago, allowing it to be freely bought in coffee shops and allowed people to own and carry up to 5 grams of cannabis for personal use. Remarkably enough the percentual portion of the population that had addiction problems, as well as the number of drug-related hospitals and intensive care patients, was far below that of any nation enforcing harsh anti-drug laws.
And so, after Paraguai became the first nation to completely legalize soft drugs for adults, even 28 states in the USA have now legalized medicinal marihuana, and 8 states plus dc have legalized marihuana for recreational use with a bill submitted for national legalization of cannabis and analog drugs. Canada has legalized long ago and more and more countries and regions across the world are beginning to realize that the prohibition of drugs, especially zero-tolerance policies, are criminal, unjust, and the arguments used to defend it are indefensible in the face of scientifically proven facts.
So, you'd think that a government of a country that basically served as the proof of concept of the beneficial effects of legalization in regards to the numbers of addicted problematic users, mortality rates, and the size and demographics of the prison populations, would be slowly but surely progressively turn down their prohibition and prosecution of drugs, like the rest of the world, knowing that if drugs are not illegal but controlled (and taxed) the incentive for criminals to take the risks involved in the illegal drug trade would cease to exist, and abandon the business for the next most illegal product that exists. Drug-related crime would vanish over time and, as eventually, the taxation of tobacco, oil, and oil derivatives will no longer be possible (oil will run out at some point, and smokers will at one point also be a thing of the past) the taxation on drugs might well become the savior of nations or even the global economy.
But no. Mr. Geert Wilders apparently got stuck in the period 1970-1999 with more than just his hairdo, calling for essentially a Dutch re-enactment of the war on drugs, and our demissionary prime-minister is considering everyone who takes even a small amount of drugs to be an idiot and responsible for the suffering of every victim of drugs-related crime on the planet.
He calls us idiots. Literally, the very word he used: Idiots. Well, Mr. Rutten, you are responsible for drugs still being illegal and therefore priced higher than they have any right to be as a substance. You are responsible for drugs being profitable enough to be by far the biggest "industry" in which organized crime is involved in. You have the power to legalize drugs, regulating production, transportation, and distribution, and of course, after taxing it, have such low-profit margins no criminal would even get out of bed for anymore.
Thank you for reading this rant. Sorry about the rant.
Stay safe, and stay happy!