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Scientist suggests Belgium markets cannabis
University of Leuven toxicologist Jan Tytgat has urged the Belgian authorities to set up a pilot scheme to market cannabis on their own behalf, reports Flanders News. He says this would help to counter the growth of illegal cannabis plantations in Belgium and provide guarantees for the quality of the drug. Tytgat regularly receives samples of cannabis seized from the growing number of illegal cannabis plantations in the country and his job is to carry out toxicological examinations of the drug. “We are failing to tackle the problem adequately and we should ask ourselves: isn’t our repressive approach costing too much and failing to yield sufficient results?” he said. “I can think of a number of arguments, including scientific ones, which could back up a pilot project for the legalisation of cannabis, albeit under strict conditions.” Under the proposals, not everybody would be allowed to cultivate cannabis, but it would be the job of the Belgian authorities to put a system in place to regulate it. “The advantage of such a system will be that the concentration of the active ingredient THC will be known, no pesticides or other rubbish will be present and that duty can be levied on the users in a completely legal fashion.” There could be a clampdown on everything outside the legal system. Since the Dutch came down hard on their own plantations, the illegal industry has moved to Belgium. Belgian health minister Laurette Onkelinx is not ruling out a pilot project, saying that Belgium’s cannabis policies have failed and alternatives should be considered. “We should think about it with the experts, but our policy has partly failed and this has dangerous ramifications,” she said.