Viktor Ivanov, head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, speaking before the State Duma June 30, said Moscow should re-criminalize drug use, confiscate land used for cannabis cultivation, and close the Central Asian border in order to combat trafficking.
Ivanov also welcomed deputies to a cautionary exhibit of wax figures of prominent drug users like the late grunge-rock star Kurt Cobain and John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman.
"Today, drugs are a more widespread crime than theft," Ivanov said in his speech. Investigators charged about 120,000 people in connection with illegal drug trafficking last year, Ivanov reported. Ivanov said he backed an idea suggested by one deputy to reintroduce criminal penalties for drug possession. But Ivanov added that users should have the option of undergoing treatment instead of serving prison time. (Moscow Times, July 1)