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Legalise cannabis, says Belgian deputy prime minister

10:30 08/09/2023

Belgium’s deputy prime minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne (MR) is calling on the country to consider legalising cannabis.

“It makes no sense to continue prosecuting, arresting and imprisoning people for matters relating to the use or sale of cannabis,” Dermagne said in an interview with L'Avenir.

“We simply have to legalise cannabis and organise its sale, as Germany is in the process of doing.”

When asked about reforms that would enable the resources devoted to the police and the justice system to be better allocated, Dermagne called cannabis law related reforms essential.

“There are far more serious forms of crime that have a far greater impact on society,” said Dermagne.

“We need to be able to organise and control production, as well as sales. And that means generating revenue for the state.”

But MR party president Georges-Louis Bouchez was less enthusiastic.

While not being entirely opposed, Bouchez said it was not the time to be sending out such a signal “of decriminalisation, of laxity” to the public.

The French-speaking liberals in general believe that cannabis is harmful to health and advocate penalties for hard drug users that encourage them to seek treatment.

Written by Helen Lyons