Russian presidential candidate and former reality TV star Ksenia Sobchak has called for the legalization of marijuana, saying it was less dangerous for society than vodka.
Sobchak is running on an "against all" platform from the Civic Initiative Party in Russia’s presidential elections next March. She is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, the first democratically-elected mayor of St. Petersburg and a former mentor of President Vladimir Putin.
At a meeting with supporters in Kaliningrad on Monday, Sobchak said that the legalization of marijuana could help solve "the narcotics epidemic" in Russia.
"I myself don't use it, but I don't drink vodka by the bottle, either," Lenta.ru reported her as saying, citing the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
"I don't really understand why drinking vodka in enormous quantities is considered normal in our country, but using marijuana is not, though it has far fewer consequences, even from the perspective of crime statistics," she added.
Andrei Khrapov, the chief of narcotics control at Russia’s Interior Ministry, said the government opposed such legalization and saw neither advantages nor medical benefits from drugs such as cannabis.