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"Legalize the cultivation of cannabis."

AMSTERDAM - Hans van Duijn, retiring chairman of the Dutch police union, said in a recent interview that the cultivation of cannabis should be legalized and long time addicts should be given harddrugs under supervision. Only under those circumstances can the police effectively fight drug criminals.

The futile war on drugs takes up a great deal of the police's time and energy and other crime issues suffer from it. He thinks most senior police officers feel the same way, and urges them to speak out in favour of the legalization of cannabis cultivation and the supervised supply of drugs to addicts.

The political climate in the Netherlands isn't very supportive of this plea. Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin announced that he's working on a law which will ban all growshops. In November the Dutch government, which is heavily dominated by Christian parties at this time, has asked for a ban on growshops.

According to Hans van Duijn, Dutch politicians are reluctant to take a look at the possibilities of legalizing soft drugs. Under international pressure they prefer to put their heads in the sand, he says.