Dutch Authorities Oppose Tighter Drugs Law

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Plans to tighten up the Netherlands' famously liberal attitude towards cannabis have met with strong resistance by local authorities across the country. The ruling conservative coalition drafted the new tougher drugs policy in the face of evidence showing a sharp increase in the potency of marijuana openly sold in many towns.
    The prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende's cabinet proposed to reduce the number of "coffee shops" where marijuana is sold and to ban sales of cannabis to foreign tourists in border areas.

    For nearly 30 years, small quantities of marijuana and hashish have been sold at coffee shops.

    Though the practice is tolerated, cannabis remains a controlled substance and technically its sale and use is illegal.

    But the policy has been met with opposition by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities which said the move threatens to undermine years of successful drugs control.

    Lex Estveld, a policy adviser, said the government was trying to fix a system that was not broken. "The entire Dutch drugs policy of controlling and containing soft drugs has proven reasonably successful in recent decades. If you ask me, we haven't done bad when you compare us to other countries," he said yesterday.

    In its policy statement to parliament, the cabinet called for research into the health risks of higher potency cannabis amid concerns over a sharp increase in the content of THC, the active chemical of the cannabis plant.

    If tests indicate the more powerful cannabis is psychologically damaging, it could be reclassified as a banned drug like cocaine and heroin, the cabinet statement said.

    The cabinet acknowledged the long-standing policy of toleration had not led to higher rates of marijuana use. But it said "the strong increase in THC content, and the link between cannabis users and psychological disorders, is a reason for concern".

    The average percentage of THC in Dutch marijuana called Nederwiet, the most popular on the market, has doubled in three years to 18 per cent, said the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction. The most potent hashish now has a THC content of up to 66 per cent, it said.

    Under the government plan, the southern town Maastricht, bordering Germany and Belgium, will conduct a trial of the policy barring the sale of marijuana and hashish to tourists. It was not clear whether customers would have to produce proof of Dutch nationality.

    A joint statement issued by 483 municipalities said the proposed measures would force the marijuana business underground.

    "The tone of the letter is too influenced by foreign [opinions] and gives insufficient credit to the successes of local coffee shop policies," said the statement. "Concentrating the trade in soft drugs at coffee shops has the clear benefit of making it transparent and controllable."

    Roughly 780 coffee shops exist in the Netherlands, but half are in the three big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. About 80 per cent of municipalities do not permit coffee shops. Government figures say the number of people who have tried marijuana in the Netherlands ranks in the middle of a range of EU countries, the United States and Australia.

    Source: Scotsman (UK)
    Author: Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam
    Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2004
    Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 2004
    Website: http://www.scotsman.com/
    Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com
  2. why don't people realise that by having a higher concentration of THC, the user has to smoke less, thus making it in a way, healthier.

    i would like to see studies done on this though, as i can't say for sure whether high concentrations of THC is bad for you or not.
  3. Ya, I just read the story in Der Spiegel. Waqs gonna post it but you came first.

    It's just sad. But I guess the plan's aren't gonna get throught. After what I understand, it's mainly the right-wing parti of late Pim Fortuin that came with those suggestions. The deal with this party however is (correct me if i'm wrong) that it, after Fortuin was killer shortly before the election, gained most of its power because the people wanted to show theyr views on political murder, so they voted for his party. I recon the next election will have a totally different outcome. And I don't think local polititians are gonnna support these suggestions. After all...the 'legal' marked of mj attracts loads of tourists nad they don't wanna loose those.

  4. That's true. If they decided not to sell to foreign tourists, I would probably change my mind about visiting Amsterdam. It would be too expensive to just go to see the sights. I'm sure a lot of other people would feel the same way.

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