Russian Drug Control Chief Ivanov Warns: Legalizing Marijuana Is Wrong; World Is Losing the Battle Against Dope

On Thursday, Viktor Ivanov, head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) made stern remarks warning that the world is losing the battle against drug trafficking. In particular, he said that so-called “light narcotics” should not be legalized.

This stands in stark opposition to the actions of the Obama Administration the very same day, which issued directives for how banking services will be extended to marijuana operations in the U.S., which will be protected from prosecution, despite U.S. Federal law under which marijuana trafficking is illegal.

Ivanov reported that Russia is committed to act within the framework of the Group of Eight (G8), for which it is currently president, to reverse the losing battle against drugs. He identified the priorities of Russia, during its 2014 G8 presidency, as acting against the drug threat and extremism, working to protect against natural and man-made disasters, and settlement of regional conflicts.

He was addressing a group of university students, in advance of an upcoming G8 Summit of Youth; and a meeting of the G8 anti-drug officials.

Ivanov’s remarks have been covered by many media. According to Interfax, Ivanov said, “So far, the world has been experiencing a fiasco.” Russia “will offer mechanisms for the reduction of the threat of drug abuse to the world” within the G8 framework. He said that, the UN General Assembly Political Declaration on Global Drug Control of 1998 has not been fulfilled, which had set a goal of significant reduction in area of drug-crop cultivation. Interfax reports him saying, “Sixteen years have passed but we have to admit that the areas under these crops have not only failed to reduce but have even grown. The areas under coca crops have enlarged by approximately 1.5 times. Speaking of Afghanistan, the areas under opium poppy reached their historical maximum of 209,000 hectares last year.”

Itar-Tass reports on Ivanov’s statements against legalizing “light narcotics.” In response to a student, he said, “I am very negative about the idea of legalization, and it cannot be otherwise. All of us travel by train and by air. Will you be very happy to know the traffic controllers use drugs? Those who have smoked marijuana for a month, let alone a year, begin to interpret the situation inadequately and feel depressed.” He referred to people falling into a state of delirium tremors.

Itar-Tass reports that Ivanov reminded people that in May, 2012, Russia signed a declaration on the impermissibility of legalizing drugs. He also reviewed to the students, specifics of the terrible toll on Russia, comes from scourge of drugs. Interfax reported in detail on this, noting that, some 1.5 million Russians are heroin addicts; there are 8 million drug addicts in all. His office reports that Russia is the foremost consumer of Afghan heroin, which comes through the Central Asian Republics.

Among other points Ivanov made to the students, is that Russia should resume its manufacture of true medical drugs. Russia is forced to go on the international market to obtain needed drugs for medical purposes.

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