We’ve mentioned the coming apocalypse for American college students hellbent on cannabis and other pharmacological delights in the most progressive nation on earth, but the call for imposing laws on the cannabis practices in the Netherlands isn’t going away as Christian Democrats gain more and more power power in a Dutch government fractured by multiple minority parties. They’re slowly morphing the countries progressive stance on soft drugs into a “culture of control,” even while other countries are following Holland’s precedent.
Right now, the country of Holland allows up to 5 grams of cannabis to be purchased in one of their designated coffee houses. Concerned that these lax measures on an increasingly potent cannabis bud (sometimes reaching as high as 18 or 19% THC–opponents of Holland’s lenient laws for cannabis claim this is just as potent as cocaine or heroin) have lead to more crime–perhaps more importantly crime syndicates that smuggles cannabis and other drugs out of country–has lead the Christian Democrat party to call for a cessation of all coffeehouses. Baring that, they’d like to make cannabis only legal to residents, stopping the flow of foreign cash into local businesses and instituting a “Big Brother” database where Dutch names can be connected to cannabis use.
Via the Vancouver Sun:
Concerned about this influx of soft-drugs tourists, not to mention what it sees as the associated crime, nuisance and health risks, the Christian Democrat Party wants to see the country’s 700 or so coffee shops shut down, but for the moment is settling for introducing restrictions on their activities.
A measure expected to be passed in parliament by the end of this year will have coffee shops operate as members-only clubs, meaning that only local residents will be eligible to register for “weed passes,” effectively barring foreigners from buying soft drugs.
Already, some cities have introduced tighter restrictions, limiting the coffee shops’ proximity to schools or relocating them to the outskirts. On Oct. 1, coffee shops in the southeastern city of Maastricht banned all foreigners except for neighbouring Germans and Belgians, as a first step towards introduction of weed passes.
The ironic part of this movement is marijuana and other soft drugs (exempli gratia: magical mushrooms), were legalized in the 1980’s and 90’s to combat the street dealing,which had led to crime.
Crime expert Korf says there is little justification for the clampdown, with scant evidence that the Dutch public supports the change.
“No serious polls have been conducted, we don’t know if opinions about coffee shops have even changed,” said Korf.
“Before coffee shops we had street dealing, they were selling marijuana in the street and ripping off tourists. The whole drug problem is nothing compared to (what we had in) the 1980s, 1990s – we don’t have a heroin problem.”
The Trimbos Institute, which studies addiction and mental health, said 5 percent of Netherlands citizens smoked weed or hashish in the past year, against an EU average of 7 percent.
Policymakers around the world are seeking fresh ideas on how to combat drug abuse, opening up a debate on policies on soft drugs.
Other countries, most notably Portugal and Switzerland, have instituted the same practices with drug use dropping as a result. Portugal especially has opened up the entire drug trade and seeks to counsel or reform drug users rather than imprison them. It’s working. Their needle exchange program is one such example of the measures undertaken in a country with a notoriously high incidence of HIV/AIDS infection.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy – which includes former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and British billionaire Richard Branson – said a decades-long strategy of outlawing drugs and jailing users while battling drug cartels had not worked.
It recommended that governments experiment with the legal regulation of drugs, especially cannabis, citing the successes in countries such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, where drug consumption had been reduced.
Like America, Holland is now falling under the purview of a government that doesn’t understand the benefits of halting the war on drugs. It’s the war part that’s killing civilians, and keeps drug peddling of all shapes and sizes (soft vs. hard) on the streets where it does the maximum amount of collateral damage.
That’s not even counting the economic advantages of opening up the drug trade to state municipalities where the taxable sales can go towards lowering our national and state debts, emptying our prisons of first-time non-violent drug offenders and expand state and national infrastructure to create more jobs. The real question isn’t why should be legalize cannabis, but why shouldn’t we? Holland is working in reverse. They tried something and it worked. Now, they’re reverting back to a time when drugs really were a problem.
WAKE THE FUCK UP AMERICA! Holland, shame on you. You should know better.
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