Dutch Mayors Lobby For Cannabis Reform
Well ok, the mayors don‘t want to grow weed themselves, although we would certainly applaud such a move. But instead, they are demanding a change in policy that would make it possible for the city to legally cultivate cannabis.
The liberal nature of Dutch law has traditionally made the Netherlands one of the most progressive nations on earth when it comes to cannabis. However, with Colorado, Washington and Uruguay now on the map, Holland is falling behind. Amsterdam is no longer considered the capital off cannabis, as more progressive nations and cities now vie for the title. As things currently stand, the contradictory laws within Holland are the result of a stagnant political climate – some politicians and groups are pushing forward, while others are trying to turn the clock backwards.
Complications and loop holes
Cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands, and coffee shops operate under a policy of tolerance. This means that coffee shops are currently having to rely on a range of different suppliers for their weed, but all of them are growing cannabis illegally. While passionate small scale growers tend to produce high quality bud, they are ironically the most vulnerable to the arbitrary claws of the police. Organised gangs, on the other hand, don‘t care much about the quality of the weed, but they do have the infrastructure and resilience that allows them to stay in the game.
The term „organised crime“ is obviously strongly biased, as the same term could well be used to describe a variety of otherwise legal activities and industries. However, the organised gangs the mayors are referring to are also involved in a number of other not-so-cool activities such as hard drug trade, human trafficking and protection racketeering.
To rectify this, and bring the Netherlands right back to the forefront of progressive reform, 35 mayors have signed a manifesto outlining how they want their cities to be able to grow and supply their own state controlled marijuana. The manifesto, whilst not law, is a clear message to the Dutch government just what the people want. A recent poll by the current affairs show „Een Vandaag“ found that 60% of Dutch people supported the idea of state supplied weed.
The benefits of state control
Doing this would effectively cut out the middle man, and allow coffee shops to purchase safely grown, controlled weed without putting themselves at risk from dealing with organised crime.
It certainly would ensure that users always know what has gone into their cannabis and that it meets the standards, as much of the weed from the underworld has been generously treated with all sorts of pesticides and nasties. Further, such as system would generate millions of euros in revenue for the cities, and the nation as a whole. Revenue that would otherwise find its way into the hands of criminals, would be flowing straight into the coffers of the government.
A question of image
As promising as it may sound, this call has gone all but unnoticed by the government who replied, “We agree that crime and nuisance have to be fought, but we disagree on the right instrument”. The argument the government puts forward is that neighbouring countries would be very much against the move, and state grown products could potentially find their way across the borders.
The tide of international opinion is turning though. France and Germany, who are renowned for pressuring the Dutch government on their cannabis policies, are themselves looking at cannabis based medicines. A German council has even recently voted to open a coffee shop within a borough of Berlin. This is also mirrored by places like Uruguay, where cannabis has recently been legalised, as well as states within the USA such as Colorado.
The Dutch Government should spend less time worrying about what other countries are thinking about them, and focus more on making their nation a safer and more prosperous place.