Amsterdam mayor wants Europe to decriminalize cocaine: “War on drugs isn’t working”
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema believes that Europe should decriminalize the sale of cocaine, like various countries already allow the sale of cannabis. “But I am a realist and know that there is too little political support for such measures,” she said at the opening of a congress on organized crime attended by multiple European measures. She thinks countries need to look at drug use differently.
“Let us face the facts: the war on drugs isn’t working. Seizing drugs is not working. And cocaine regulation isn’t in the picture either. I hope we can agree that we need to formulate an alternative strategy,” Halsema said at the congress organized by Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius. Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, or their representatives, from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, are attending.
According to the mayor, the approach to drugs should consist of three parts. “We need to reduce violence and the number of guns on the streets. We must support the economic and social development of certain districts and neighborhoods. And we need to map, disrupt, and cut off illegal money flows.” On the latter point, she argued for more cooperation between European governments and cities because that is where money laundering happens.
Halsema stressed that governments should enable the police to tackle criminals. She spoke about the murders of Peter R. de Vries, lawyer Derk Wiersum, crown witness Nabil B.’s brother Reduan, and the mistaken identity murder of 17-year-old Mohammed Bouchiki. According to Halsema, these murders made the headlines, but “in reality are only the tip of the iceberg.”