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Fighting a social scourge and dealing with organized crime: an uphill battle!

By NickWinslow (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The illicit drug trade in the EU is estimated to generate €24 Billion in revenue each year. Around 35% of the organized crime groups active in Member States are involved in the production, trafficking and distribution of such drugs. And 620 new substances -synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances- were detected over the last 5 years. These figures (Report Europol 2017) highlight the magnitude of the problem. It is in this context of huge pressure on the police services and the judiciary but also on social services that the debate about drug legalization has been re-launched. To date, several european countries including Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany have passed legislation allowing the use of medical cannabis. It is estimated that almost 24% of European adults have already used cannabis (European Drug Report 2017). It is the most widely abused drug in Europe. In light of this, should we legalize cannabis? The main argument for legalization is that it would significantly reduce the criminal networks associated with the drug trade. The main argument against the legalization is that cannabis is highly addictive and could be the gateway to hard drugs. Having said that, and given the unbounded inventiveness and the considerable power of these criminal organizations we are convinced that they will have no difficulty in entering the licit market of drugs. Today, it is clearly established that drug problems intensify across the world. Many agree that the current drug policy is not working. But they have no credible plan to stop this plague. Of course, drug legalization will not be a panacea. However, we cannot just say that this is more or less an endless fight. Confronted with these huge challenges, we must not give up and admit defeat!

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