The rationale for the proposed legalization was to curb crime by making drugs available to any citizen over the age of 18. But critics warned that such a system would turn Switzerland into a clearinghouse for foreign drug dealers and cut it off from the international police community. That prospect was distinctly unappealing to the Swiss, who last year voted to provide heroin to hard-core users and currently face one of Europe's highest rates of drug addiction -- about 30,000 in a nation of 7 million.
Being the destination of choice for secretive bank depositors has cost Switzerland dearly in the final throes of WWII reparations, and yesterday the country decided it didn't want to be the vacation getaway for the world's drug addicts as well. In a surprisingly emphatic vote, 74 percent of the population rejected an initiative that would have legalized heroin, cocaine and cannabis.