SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Crazy shop

PARENTS who are starting to panic over of the sudden spread of “crazy shops”, selling synthetic substances with effects similar to marijuana or cocaine, should find it easy to calm down. Firstly, before the arrival of crazy shops, buying drugs was just as easy. No need to get excited now. And if that doesn’t work, there are scores of politicians to keep one amused with their anti-drugs rhetoric. “We will do everything in our power to put an end to these shops,” said Bratislava Self-Governing Region head Pavol Frešo. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik is preparing new legislation to make it easier to ban new substances which are not yet illegal.

Crazy shops have mushroomed in Slovakia after they were banned in PolandCrazy shops have mushroomed in Slovakia after they were banned in Poland (Source: Sme - Tomáš Benedikovič)

PARENTS who are starting to panic over of the sudden spread of “crazy shops”, selling synthetic substances with effects similar to marijuana or cocaine, should find it easy to calm down. Firstly, before the arrival of crazy shops, buying drugs was just as easy. No need to get excited now. And if that doesn’t work, there are scores of politicians to keep one amused with their anti-drugs rhetoric. “We will do everything in our power to put an end to these shops,” said Bratislava Self-Governing Region head Pavol Frešo. Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik is preparing new legislation to make it easier to ban new substances which are not yet illegal.

You don’t really need a specialised store to find weed at the Comenius University campus in Bratislava, and the development of new drugs will always outpace the speed with which they can be banned. So perhaps politicians should take the opportunity and finally also start thinking about something which actually might work – decriminalising drug use.

The supposedly liberal SaS party proposed the decriminalisation of marijuana use before last year’s elections, but gave up on the promise right at the start of coalition talks. The fact is that smoking pot is common, even in conservative Slovakia, and sanctions seems to have little visible effect. What they do mean is that many kids, who will grow-up to be law-abiding citizens, end up with a tarnished criminal record. And that in search of a “legal” supplement they visit Crazy Shops, whose products may be much more dangerous than home-grown marijuana. When it comes to drugs, more emphasis on repression can mean more risk.

Unfortunately, this concept would strike most Slovak politicians as rather crazy.


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