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Belgium Eases Pot Law Enforcement

April 21, 1998

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The Belgian government announced Monday it will relax enforcement of anti-cannabis laws but warned it was not liberalizing laws barring use of the drug.

Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck told Parliament that cases involving private consumption of the drug, which is illegal in Belgium, would receive the lowest priority from law enforcement officials.

The justice ministry insisted, however, that use of cannabis would remain a punishable offense.

Belgium’s northern neighbor, the Netherlands, has a more liberal policy on the drug, while France, which borders Belgium to the south, has a restrictive policy. The issue has created diplomatic tensions between the Dutch and French governments.

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