The Belgian Minister of Economy Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS) calls for the legalization of cannabis in two newspaper interviews. He advocates not only the depenalization of users but also the legalization of commerce.

"There is no point in continuing to prosecute, arrest, and imprison people in cases involving the use or sale of cannabis. Cannabis should simply be legalized and its sale organized, as Germany is now deciding," the Minister says.

"We need to legalize in order to organize cultivation and sales. To also get revenue for the state from it. In Belgium, you would come out around 660 million a year, including through excise taxes like on alcohol and tobacco. Money that can be used for the police, justice, and prevention," he adds.

Dermagne stresses that he does not want to promote cannabis, and he is indeed sensitive to the health risks. But the state should address this in a pragmatic way and frame sales of it so that the revenue no longer flows to the crime scene, the police are relieved, and the state can tax it, is his contention. "It's a matter of common sense," he says.