If administrators in the Russian Republic of Buryatia get their way, students in the region may soon be required to take drug tests. The move is similar to past proposals, many of which have been quickly condemned as human rights violations.
Schoolchildren Could Face Mandatory Drug Tests
As reported by Russia Today, the Republic of Buryatia is now considering implementing a new drug policy. And the way many people see it, the proposal could be a draconian and heavy handed attempt to vilify cannabis.
According to the news outlet, Buryatia’s head administrator, Aleksey Tsydenov, floated the new proposal. If it is eventually passed into law, all students in the region would be subject to required drug tests.
This would include all schoolchildren, seemingly without any regard for their age. Additionally, the proposal would require all first-year university students to take a drug test. Finally, Tsydenov’s proposal would also force all vocational school students to take mandatory drug tests.
The policymaker said the required tests would help crack down on people using illegal substances. Further, he also said that requiring these types of tests would be a deterrent to keep others from consuming illegal substances.
In order to carry out such a huge number of drug tests, Tsydenov has apparently asked the government to find a way to make drug tests cheaper.
But his proposal doesn’t end at mandatory drug tests. He also wants to initiate a crack down on naturally growing fields of cannabis. In particular, Tsydenov has formally requested resources to locate and get rid of natural marijuana plants.
As Russia Today pointed out, Tsydenov’s proposal is not the first of its kind. In fact, lawmakers in various parts of Russia have, at different times, tried to implement similarly severe drug laws.
Typically, such proposals are condemned. Historically, human rights activists have called out such proposals as an overreach of governmental power. Additionally, these types of proposals are often rebuffed as privacy violations and as violations of basic human rights.
Buryatia Has a Rich History of Cannabis
Interestingly, this attempt to crack down on cannabis comes in the region that some researchers think could be the original site of recreational marijuana use.
Cannabis plants grow naturally in the region. And it looks as if ancient residents of the area may have been regular consumers of the plant.
The best proof for this theory comes from the Pazyryk burial grounds. At this site, researchers have found artifacts that date back as far as the third or fourth centuries B.C.
One of the most interesting finds at this site was a pouch of cannabis buds. The pouch was discovered at a burial site, leading many researchers to conclude that ancient Buryatians used cannabis for religious or recreational uses.
Buryatia is located in South Siberia. It borders Mongolia, and the bulk of its residents are ethnically, religiously, and culturally related to Mongols.
The region was first colonized by Russia in the 17th century. In 1990, the Buryat ASSR announced its sovereignty. Then in 1992, it changed its name to Republic of Buryatia. Today, it is an autonomous republic, part of the Russian Federation.