An extensive comparison of the Swedish and Netherlands drug policies shows that Sweden has been far more successful in reducing drug use.
Two UK doctors summarised the lessons to be learnt as-
A clear message that drugs in general and cannabis in particular are harmful is associated with low abuse of cannabis and other illicit drugs.
A strong consensus in politics, education and public opinion to aim at a drug free society leads to significantly lower drug use than legalisation.
The criminal justice system, education and treatment can play a role in reducing drug abuse by consequently enforcing drug laws.
Legalising cannabis sends the message that it is OK to take cannabis and this is associated with a high use of cannabis.
Low use of cannabis is associated with a low use of other illicit drugs including cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy.
Legalising cannabis is likely to lead to an increased abuse of cannabis and a steep rise in abuse of other illicit drugs.
Legalising cannabis is associated with increasing drug trafficking in other illicit drugs.
(Source: Raabe H.C. and Stalley L, Risks of Legalising Cannabis Underestimated – A comparison of Dutch and Swedish Drug Policy February 2002) Full report available on our web site www.daca.org.au
Australia must follow Swedens successful drug policy in reducing cannabis and other illicit drug use.
Australia must reduce the use of cannabis by empowering its courts to divert users into detoxification and rehabilitation.