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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 inform yourself about the local laws and rules. In Amsterdam's case this can be a difficult task, therefore this article will try to inform you about the basics of the Dutch legislation and specific things you should know about Amsterdam and its Coffeeshops.

In the Netherlands we distinguish between two types of drugs: soft and hard drugs. By law both of them are illegal, but the use and possession of small  amounts of soft drugs is decriminalized and regulated. This led the Dutch to having a unique drugs policy in the world. Although the use of addictives in general is discouraged, the Dutch politics reasoned that cannabis does not have physically addictive qualities, and are not more harmful than, say, alcohol. Therefore the Netherlands allow limited forms of possession and trade in soft-drugs.

Blowgebodbord - Smoke here signThe specific rules are as follows:
• You are allowed to purchase and possess up to five grams of cannabis. Possessing more is interpreted as if you want to trade it, which is illegal.
• Only specially permitted “Coffeeshops” are allowed to sell soft drugs, 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 a study called the ‘World Drug Report’ performed by the UN (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) cannabis was reported in 172 countries and territories world wide, with more than a 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 some 50% have tried Cannabis at a certain point in their lives. This is quite the difference compared to the 30 percent European average. Other European countries with higher than average use are France, Spain and the UK. Canada (at 58.6%), and the United States (at 49%) are the leaders when it comes to the world wide consumption of cannabis.
The Netherlands does not occur in this list of top users, according to researchers, this could have to do with the fact that Cannabis is freely available to those 18 years and older in the Netherlands. The report also showed that the prices have been stable or dropped since 1996. With Spain being the cheapest and Norway being the most expensive when it concerns retail prices. The highest concentration of THC (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol) - the active ingredient in cannabis - seems to be in the Netherlands at a little over 20%. Portugal and Italy scrape the bottom of the bag at less than three percent.

The report shows a quite divergent regulatory landscape 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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