Legal or Permitted?

Blowverbodbord No weed smoking here-signDutch Marijuana Legislation Facts

Amsterdam is known to be a liberal city. Although many people exaggerate the freedom here, the Amsterdammers and Dutch in general do have a few  liberties that are unique in the world. Still, whenever you visit a city in a foreign country it is always a good idea to keep yourself posted about law enforcement issues. In Amsterdam's case this can prove a difficult task; our article fills in the gap by outlining the current drug policy, and introducing you to Amsterdam's Coffeeshop culture.

In the Netherlands the distinction is made between two kinds of drugs: soft and hard drugs. Both are illegal, but the possession and use of small quantities of soft drugs is regulated so that it does not amount to a public offense. The Dutch drug policy is unique worldwide. Of course, the use of addictive substances is discouraged, if not prohibited. Along these lines, since cannabis is free from physically addictive qualities, it is not considered as more harmful than alcohol, for instance. In short, the official national policy allows for certain forms of trade in soft drugs.

Blowgebodbord - Smoke here signMore specifically:
• You are allowed to purchase and possess up to five grams of cannabis. Exceeding the 5g threshold is interpreted as unlawful trade practice for both retailers and customers. Simply put, you risk a fine and/or accusations of illegal cannabis trade.
• Only licenced “Coffeeshops” are allowed to sell cannabis products, and never more than five grams per person per day. You have to be 18 or over to access a Coffeeshop.

The paradox in the Dutch drugs policy is that the growing and trading of large amounts of soft drugs is illegal and not allowed, yet Coffeeshops still  need to buy their stock. This phenomenon is referred to as the “back door/ front door” paradox: Coffeeshops are allowed to sell (and pay taxes for it), but can not legally buy stock.

It is not illegal to smoke outside the Coffeeshop, but things have changed over the past few years, and it is no longer acceptable to smoke cannabis just everywhere.

Restricted areas around Central Station and the Red Light District have a “zero tolerance” policy. In other areas in Amsterdam where it is forbidden to smoke Marijuana, official “no-pot-smoking” street signs will indicate this clearly.

Although you are not expected to know local regulations, you might very well risk a fine when smoking in these areas.


UN Cannabis Usage Report


According to the recent annual World Drug Report, commissioned by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cannabis is consumed in 172 countries and territories worldwide, with more than one million European consumers in the last month.

The Danish are way ahead of other European countries when it concerns cannabis use. From the age of 15 to 34, an estimated 50% tried cannabis at least once. This is well above the 30% European average. Other European countries with higher than average use are France, Spain and the UK. Canada (58.6%), and the United States (49%) are the leaders when it comes to the worldwide consumption of cannabis.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands does not figure in the list of top users. According to researchers, this might be due to the fact that cannabis is freely available to those 18 years and older in the Netherlands. The report also shows that the prices have been stable or dropped since 1996, with  the cheapest marijuana to be purchased in Spain and the most expensive in Norway. The highest concentration of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in cannabis products is found in the Netherlands at a little over 20%. Portugal and Italy are at the bottom end with less than 3%.

The report confirms divergent regulatory tendencies in the EU, with decriminalization trends in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg, but toughening regulations in Denmark, Italy and surprisingly, the big example, the Netherlands.

source: freeamsterdam.nl








Police Union: Pot Prohibition Is Pointless

The head of the Dutch police union NPB, Hans van Duijn, told radio reporters it is pointless to fight against the supply of cannabis. He thinks it only leads to more crime and he would much rather see soft drugs legalised in The Netherlands. Further, Hans van Duijn is in favour of letting long time addicts use hard drugs under supervision. In his opinion this is the only way to effectively fight drug related crime.

Drug crimes take up a great deal of the police's time and energy and other crime issues suffer from it, says the retiring NPB chairman. He thinks most senior police officers feel the same way. According to Hans van Duijn, Dutch politicians are reluctant to look at the possibilities of legalising soft drugs. Under international pressure they prefer to put their heads in the sand, says Mr Van Duijn.

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