A possible solution to the drug war in Antwerp, according to mayor Bart De Wever, is the legalization of drugs. He says that in a new Dutch book. But in the meantime he withdraws his words. ‘I have been quoted very selectively.’
‘I am against any legalization of drugs. Point on the line. ‘ Bart De Wever, mayor of Antwerp and N-VA chairman, said this on Twitter.
The reason is the book Netherlands drugsland by the Dutch investigative journalist Jan Tromp and researcher Pieter Tops, about which The morning message. Bart De Wever also speaks in it, who seems to see the point of legalization in a reflection.
“You may also have to conclude that we cannot handle this,” he says in the book when it comes to the Antwerp war on drugs. ‘Then you have to give up, huh. It is an option that one must dare to face. The fight against alcohol and nicotine has also been abandoned. The products have been legalized. ‘
He even explains how exactly he would approach this: ‘I think the idea that we would do something like this again with other intoxicants is horrible. But of course it is a solution. I cannot deny that. The only thing I plead for then is: do it rücksichtslos, don’t do it under age. Because then you give the criminal-capitalist system a white front. Experience has shown that criminals using semi-legal solutions only get stronger. ‘
The authors themselves do not want to add anything to this. The office of the Antwerp mayor is also scanty with comments. “We haven’t seen that book yet,” said his head of cabinet. “It is at least out of context and quoted very selectively.”
‘Do not give up’
It is not the first time that an interview with Volkskrant journalist Jan Tromp and professor Pieter Tops has caused a stir in Antwerp. A month before the municipal elections, De Wever said in an interview with them that the drug mafia ‘is also buying political influence’. This suggestion that Antwerp politicians would allow themselves to be paid with drug money led to much suspicion at the time.
In a reaction to De Wever’s’ thinking exercise ‘, professor of criminology Tom Decorte says on twitter:’ Regulation is not a matter of ‘giving up the fight’. The finding that the war on drugs does not work does not automatically lead to the abandonment of the fight against drugs. That fight must be conducted DIFFERENTLY. The evolution of the tobacco policy over the last 15 years shows how. ‘