George A Papandreou, European Affairs Minister, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs for Greece
The European Union must have a serious and open debate on the issue your paper has raised. Our policies of enforcement over prevention have cloaked reality with hypocrisy, created criminals out of law-abiding citizens and paid lip service to the underworld. The time is right, as we approach the millennium, for a re-evaluation. Those who consume cannabis are exposed to an underworld that promotes laboratory-manufactured concoctions and dangerously addictive drugs. A move in the right direction would be to decriminalise cannabis. It would break the relationship between the drug dealer and the cannabis user. It should be complemented by other pro-active policies to deal with hard-drug use. We should treat users as persons with health problems rather than criminals. I suggest we focus our efforts on educating younger citizens rather than hunting them down as criminals.