February 4th, 2011

It’s Magyar Reefer Madness!

marijuana-ad.jpgWhat with all the other government crackdowns going on, you can be excused for having missed last week’s news that the Hungarian government is planning a new crackdown on drugs, including some tougher punishment for people who aren’t really drug dealers but who occasionally hook up their friends. More chilling still: The new anti-drug push may focus on of all things, marijuana. Dudes!

A few days before the latest war on drugs was announced, a report by the National Drug Focus Point revealed that cannabis is not only the most popular illegal drug in Hungary, but that 70% of illegal drug users getting treatment do so for cannabis. And this, writes hirado.hu, means that among EU member states, Hungary has perhaps the highest proportion of “problem” tokers.

If that sounds weird, that’s because it is. According to the pot-bloggers at Kenderzsupp, the much-bandied figure doesn’t take into account the fact the actual number of cannabis users who received treatment, which was 3,013 in 2009. This means that if half a million Hungarians smoke weed – which is the blog’s estimate – only 0.6% received treatment.

Freakier still, this number isn’t based on people looking for help: 88% of those getting “help” for their hemp “problem” didn’t ask for treatment because they or their family thought they needed it, but because they chose it as an alternative to criminal charges they might have faced for simply getting caught smoking a joint – even before the latest crackdown. Harsh.

And here is what people were saying back before we forced readers to use Facebook to comment. Weren't those the days?
  1. wolfi says:

    “cannabis users who received treatment”

    What kind of treatment do they get – anybody know something ?

    Knowing the state of the Hungarian medical system, lobotomy, electro shocks, etc come to mind …

  2. Paul says:

    “Hungarian government is planning a new crackdown on drugs”

    And rightly so, I got threatened only the other night by a potter, who, paused, reefer in hand and said he would get back to me when he remembered why he’d threatened me…

  3. Farkas Laszlo says:

    At a time when the trend throughout the world is towards greater tolerance, the Hungarian govt is yet again behind the curve on this and arguably many other issues as well. And this coming from a govt that just recently legalised home distillation of hard liquor, with all the potential consequences that that entails!

    What is needed is for Hungary to fully look at the issue from all aspects and not just blindly follow some prohibitionist policy that did not originate in Hungary. Prohibitionism was an American reaction to drugs, one which was founded in their religious mores and racial fears. Hungary has had a relationship with this weed that goes back many centuries, and it has had myriad uses to our people. Even in it’s land of origin, the “war on drugs” is undergoing considerable revision, especially re cannabis. California has fully decriminalised, and is experiencing a booming and taxable trade via “medical” pot and clinics. Other American states are following suit.

    If California can do this, why shouldn’t Hungary? At a time when the country has almost no real growth industry to speak of, can and should we dismiss the economic potential of industrial hemp as well as the phychoactive use thereof? How can a govt that is hard up for revenues, and which has a hard time collecting taxes from the people pass up the chance to realize billions in potential tax income from licensed pot clinics and retail vendors? They have no other brilliant plan for jumpstarting their own govt coffers or for getting ordinary people into any lucrative activity. If they do, then let’s hear it!

    My biggest problem with cannabis prohibition is that it violates the Realist in me; those who think it can be legislated out of existence are foolish and out of touch with reality. I think history will someday show it to be one of the greatest govt policy folly of all time.

    Hungary’s leaders need to start thinking and acting like real leaders; let them think out of the box if necessary. We don’t need a revival of a policy that has failed everywhere else, which was never Hungarian to begin with and which is actually falling out of favor in a number of places. Nothing like being way behind the times, right? Not an unfamiliar feeling to Magyars.

  4. " B i n g B o n g " Jackson says:

    Well, I think the new pot laws in the US are a bunch of crap. Just a liberal back door to be able to smoke dope. I’m sure that pharmaceutical drugs are no worse for your body that the pot is. In Pest however, we are talking about “Reefer Madness!”… In which case your tiny nation will go up in sweet smelling flames by the end of the week…

  5. Prohibition Works says:

    Let’s go after potheads, alcohol drinkers, smokers, consumers of fat and fast food, left-handed people and other misfits.
    It’s much easier to control the population if everyone is a criminal.

  6. Szabad Ember says:

    All this statistic of 70% means is that of all the
    drug users in the country getting treatment, the
    vast majority are getting that treatment for pot
    smoking. In other words, there are hardly any
    people getting treatment for hard drugs, which could
    mean that there is not nearly as much hard drug use
    in the country as in other EU countries. That
    sounds like a positive statistic to me… yay,
    Hungary! We’re number 1!

  7. Pia says:

    “there is not nearly as much hard drug use in the country”

    Is hard liquor included in these statistics?

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