The tragedy this weekend in Barbate has brought back to the fore the problems that the municipalities of Campo de Gibraltar with the drug trafficking: with more than 20 agents deceased since 2015, the economic situation of a large part of the population of the region makes them “the breeding ground for them to enter drug trafficking,” as explained by the president of the anti-drug coordinator Alternativas para Campo de Gibraltar, Francisco Mena, in an interview in Cope.
In that sense, the mayor of La Línea de la Concepción, Juan Franco stated that “perhaps the solution is to legalize” the consumption of hashish, like tobacco or alcohol, explaining that “perhaps from there we will cut off drug trafficking.”
In Spain, the consumption, possession and sale of cannabis and hashish is prohibited and punished by law (although its recreational use is decriminalized), it is only legal to have 100 grams of cannabis as long as it is for self-consumption in private spaces, or for shared consumption in social cannabis clubs. However, In some countries the laws are more lax in this regardand even in some nations it is legal. Has the legalization of these drugs reduced drug trafficking?
Cannabis is only legal in eight countries in the world
The recreational use of cannabis and its derivatives is completely legal in 8 countries around the worldin some cases with small restrictions such as sales or purchases by non-resident citizens: these are Canada, Uruguay, Georgia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand.
In some countries, such as Australia or the United States, it is legal in some states or regions, while in the Netherlands consumption and sale in specialized stores is legal. There is possession decriminalized (up to 5 grams), as in other countries such as Chile, Colombia or the Czech Republic.
In many Western countries, such as France or Germany, the possession or use of cannabis is illegal, but restrictions and sanctions are lax: fines are imposed in France on site, while in Germany the possession of small quantities for own use is not pursued. In most countries in the world, the possession and consumption of cannabis is prohibited, but decriminalized, which means de facto the permissiveness of the authorities in this regard.
Nevertheless, In most countries in the world, cannabis is illegal.and many of these nations apply very severe penalties for those who consume, possess or sell these drugs: In April 2023, a prisoner was executed in Singapore for trafficking a kilo of marijuana. In other Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, this type of sanction is also applied.
In China, the penalty can range from jail or death to fines depending on the quantity, while in Russia possession, sale, distribution and cultivation are serious crimes: A small possession for personal use can be punished by up to 2 years in prison and forced community labor, and its distribution is punishable by up to 15 years. Other countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia or Brazil are also very restrictive with this type of drug.
Experts warn that legalization would not stop drug trafficking
In any case, The debate about whether legalizing cannabis and its derivatives would reduce drug trafficking has been on the table for a long time.. In that sense, it is difficult to measure the impact that the measure could have, its different conditions and how the effects of this type of measures could vary in countries with different socioeconomic ecosystems.
Beyond the theoretical positive effects that the defenders of this type of measures put forward (increased quality, security for seller and consumer), a United Nations report points out that the legalization of cannabis “seems to lead to a increase in consumptionespecially in youth” and that, however, has not managed to “decrease or eliminate organized crime that is dedicated to sales” of these drugs where it has been implemented. The report notes that “these markets prevail because marijuana with a higher THC content (the psychoactive component of cannabis) is sold at cheaper prices.”
Legalization would also have direct effects on the populationas stated by the professor of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid, Dr. José Luis Carranco, in Europa Press: “If marijuana is legalized, consumption, psychotic and personality disorders, dropout and school frustration will increase.”