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Amerstam Psychiatrist Frederick Polak Continually Embarrasses UN Drug Czar, Challenging Costa's Positions With Actual Facts

Antonio Maria Costa does not want to answer ENCOD board member and Amsterdam-based psychiatrist Frederick Polak's question. For the last three years, Polak has presented to Costa (at every opportunity) the same simple query: "If prohibition is the only way to contain the drug problem, how do you explain that the prevalence of cannabis use is lower or similar in the Netherlands than in many neighboring countries?" As the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union explains ("Silenced NGO Partner"), "the hypothesis behind drug prohibition is that if we repress the supply of drugs the demand will automatically reduce." Thus, if that theory held true, marijuana use should have skyrocketed in the Netherlands after its government decriminalized the drug in 1976 ("Timeline: Use of Cannabis," BBC, 2005), and eventually implemented their much-discussed "coffeeshop" distribution model. However, "this is not the case: according to statistics cannabis use patterns remained relatively stable in the Netherlands and did not hit the sky as a result of legal availability." Clearly faced with a conundrum, Costa discussed tangentially-related issues in order to avoid the meat of Polak's question; when pressed again by Polak, the czar "lost his temper and grudgingly refused to engage in further discussions, giving the floor to another speaker, while Polak was approached by a security guard."

As intimated earlier, however, Polak did not stop seeking his answer after the March 2008 incident (a video of which can be viewed on the above-linked HCLU post). On December 6 of the same year, Polak composed an open letter addressed to Costa in which he stated that "On 6 December 2007 at the Drug Policy Alliance Conference in New Orleans I asked you the following question.&qout; Costa goes on to repeat the aforementioned inquiry and begins his next paragraph by stating that he is "still waiting for your answer." In short, despite having asked the world's leading authority - at least nominally - on illicit drugs a relatively simple question about marijuana prohibition three times, Frederick Polak has yet to receive an answer. Maybe next time, Mr. Costa?


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