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Russia Will Not Legalize Marijuana — Putin

MOSNEWS, 7th July 2006

“Russia is a member of international agreements under which marijuana is a prohibited drug. Russia will adhere to its international obligations in this sphere,” Putin said during a Web cast. He said the legalization of soft drugs in a number of countries had not reduced the use of hard drugs such as heroin.

Russian President stressed that drug dealers faced tough penalties under Russia’s Criminal Code.

“The question is not about tougher punishment but ensuring that punishment is inevitable,” RIA Novosti quotes Putin as saying.

About 100,000 Internet users voted for the question about legalizing soft drugs in Russia.

According to ITAR-TASS news agency Russian President Vladimir Putin has began news conference where he addresses audiences over Internet at around 17:00 hours Moscow time Thursday (13:00 hours GMT).

The global audience had an opportunity to send questions to him over the past seven days. Almost 160,000 questions came in.

Organizers of this web conference believe it will last for almost two hours, during which time the anchors representing the BBC and the Russian Internet portal Yandex.ru will hand over to him the most interesting questions. He will personally select a few questions, too, and answer them.

Putin appeared in his first questions time event on the web in 2001, when the BBC and a number of Russian Internet portals received almost 10,000 questions for him.

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