D66: ‘In addition to tackling criminal networks, also think about legalizing drugs’

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D66: 'In addition to tackling criminal networks, also think about legalizing drugs'

Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz (VVD) believes that by advocating the legalization of drugs in the Netherlands you are laying out the red carpet for criminals. Joost Sneller of D66 thinks that in addition to tackling drug criminals, steps can also be taken by regulating drugs.

By Joost van der Wegen

War

During the discussion of the justice budget, Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yeşilgöz (VVD) responded on Thursday afternoon to questions from Member of Parliament Joost Sneller (D66) about how the ‘war’ against drug criminals can be won and with what strategy. For example, that of legalizing types of drugs. “How can we take this a step further?” he asked her.

The minister then indicated that she is ‘certainly taking a step further’ and ‘not losing a war’. Dilan Yeşilgöz: ‘Because that would mean that the rule of law has lost, and I do not agree with that.’

Broken

The minister said he thought it was important to gain insight into the number of criminal networks: ‘There are a lot of them. And about how to destroy them. How to ensure that they cannot continue their activities from prison. From how do you prevent little boys from becoming big boys, to preventing them from continuing their activities in the EBI.’

She explained that a difficult approach is: ‘Because the criminals in front of us have infinite money in their hands, and are organized like multinationals.’

In a corner

Yeşilgöz acknowledged that the effects of her policy are difficult to measure: ‘We are increasingly mapping out what those networks look like and what happens. And when you see how some networks are lashing out at the top world right now, it’s because they know we’ve backed them into a corner. These are not facts that we can measure or substantiate with figures at the moment. We have hired scientists for that. I would like to answer that, but we are still too much in the middle of it.’

We have been naive in our approach in recent years, she says: ‘But the cracking of criminal messages has given us much more insight into how criminal organizations operate.’

Missing link

Sneller then wanted an answer to his question: ‘What the minister does not mention is that those illegal markets can make their profits because certain drugs have been made illegal. That is the only reason why criminals can make so much money from it. Other elements mentioned by the minister also play a role in this. But the missing link is, is this because we have a drug ban? Is that why you can’t put the discussion about regulation on the international agenda?’

Yeşilgöz replied: ‘Drugs are banned because of their health effects. You can have a conversation about legalization, but the reality is that there are Mexicans with drug labs in our country. And if we were to be at the forefront of the discussion about legalization, you would be rolling out the red carpet for crime here.’

She indicated that legalization of drugs is a passé. ‘We have passed that phase, partly because our infrastructure makes us an attractive country for drug criminals.’

Crane

Sneller states that he supports operations against drug criminals, but he thinks that the tap of money made by drug crime can also be turned off through legalization.

The debate during the justice budget debate continued on Thursday afternoon.

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