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Public split on cannabis legalisation

Thursday 04 February 2010

Some 50% of the population think cannabis should be fully legalised while 25% want a complete ban, according to the latest Maurice de Hond opinion poll.

The Netherlands has a policy of turning a blind eye to the possession of up to five grammes of marijuana for personal use. The drug can be bought in small quantities from cafes known as coffee shops which operate under local government licence.

Supporters of the left wing green party Groenlinks are most in favour of legalisation (88%), while half the supporters of the two governing Christian parties CDA and ChristenUnie want soft drugs made illegal and all coffee shops closed down.

Some 62% of the people who took part in the poll say they have never taken cannabis. Most smokers can be found among supporters of the Socialist Party (11%) and anti-Islam PVV (7%). CDA supporters are the least likely to have smoked cannabis - 83% say they have never tried the drug.

On Wednesday
the Telegraaf reported that the CDA will publish plans on Thursday to further crack down on cannabis cafes and illegal production, said to be worth €2bn a year.

MPs will debate the government's drugs policy on Thursday evening.

Should cannabis be legalised? Take part in our poll

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Most smokers can be found among supporters of the Socialist Party (11%) and anti-Islam PVV (7%). CDA supporters are the least likely to have smoked cannabis - 83% say they have never tried the drug.

ERM, if 83% of the CDA supporters have never smoked, doesn't that mean that 17% have and thus they deserve the title "most smokers can be found" ??!!!

What strikes me is once again the person who purchases and uses cannabis within these partly-coded guidelines is the scapegoat for the total lack of coherent policy on the supply side.

How on earth can a government allow a product to be sold semi-legally but totally ban the supply of such licenses premises. It's playing into the illegaly cannabis growing/importing trade.

Legalise production in Holland. Government-licensed greenhouses producing nederwiet instead of tasteless tomatoes. Control the supply and you will earn tax euros and thwart the smuggling trade.

Not rocket science, is it?!

[Editor's note: 17% of CDA smokers have tried pot but only 1% say they still use it.]

By maths | 4 February 2010 8:02 AM

Isn't it the way it always is....The people who have never tried pot are the first ones that want it outlawed. Ask the question to the CDA members if they also want alcohol banned. I bet its just as high. If the Dutch would get rid of these cooks in government, then maybe the Netherlands can experience its potential.

By alanposting | 4 February 2010 8:22 AM

Legalising will enable government to tax and control importation, domestic growth, packaging and distribution. Criminals will still try to smuggle it into the country as is done with tobacco.

By john | 4 February 2010 10:13 AM

Why do so many people immediately blame the CDA and their Christian views? They were voted into power fair and square, and despite all the pot-smoking PVV supporters they still remain by far the largest supported party in Holland. You can't argue with the majority of voters, that's democracy folks. Majority opinion rules. Pot smoking remains a minority activity. We'll see what happens at the next general election.

By simplastic | 4 February 2010 11:23 AM

@simplastic: Why do so many people immediately blame the CDA and their Christian views?
Perhaps because their views are extremist in themselves, quote: while half the supporters of the two governing Christian parties CDA and ChristenUnie want soft drugs made illegal and all coffee shops closed down.
No middle ground with them, is there? It's all about business in the end, they won't be completely closed down when there's tax to be made off selling cannabis, and why should they be, some people prefer to smoke, some prefer to drink. Both are drugs, both have some down-sides, but legalise them, control and tax them and both the Government and the people (majority of) are happy.

By Hilary | 4 February 2010 3:36 PM

I think cannabis should be banned. There are too many expats who are only here to smoke reefer and spend their working days in a haze. This upsets their expat colleagues who don't smoke and actually do all the work (as the Dutch colleagues are off work with stress due to the high work load).

By John | 4 February 2010 3:51 PM

With hindsight the world would have been better of without alcohol and certainly all the other soft drugs. One cannot turn the clock back though. There seems to be no option but to treat marihuana the same as alcohol. The best we can do is to prohibit advertising like with sigarettes and to make the use of these drugs devoid of all glamour so as to protect the youth from peer pressure. If marihuana was within my reach, when I was 12 years old I would have smoked it. I was lucky: it was not there yet.

By Frans | 4 February 2010 4:05 PM

It's sad seeing (not only with cannabis) people against things just because.
Maybe the reason why people act this way it's because they feel that they don't have any power against things they think that are wrong in life in our days. So people vote like if they are choosing a winner for theire political/football championship, instaid acting the right way, doing the right things. I know... it's hard.

By Silvino Lopes | 4 February 2010 5:38 PM

a modest proposal: fully legalize cannabis production and sale, treat it as a commodity like alcochol that is sold (albeit with restrictions, not to underage) freely and upon receipt. then, with the tax money gained with that, finance basic research and NOT cut off studiefinanciering rights for students.
come on, in holland its already possible to buy weed and here it is a much lesser social problem than in other countries. then do the full step and earn on it!!! i want dutch pragmatism at work or else ill go back to italy

By andre | 4 February 2010 6:19 PM

Listen I wanted Groenlinks to win but I forgot to vote. And correct me if I'm wrong if 50% of Dutch people want it fully legalized 25% want it partially legalized then us 'folks' think majority opinion rules and democracy...uh what was I talking about...

By I forgot | 4 February 2010 7:45 PM

Legalize the production and distribution is the only way. Let only adult registered smokers buy it. Tax it and be done with it.

By Captain Ze | 4 February 2010 8:15 PM

@simplastic But this is a coalition here we're talking about.

Not your regular democracy.

Strange things happen in coalitions.

By Chris | 4 February 2010 8:31 PM

Nobody could 'legalise' drugs, drugs are objects that cannot be illegal. What is illegal are human activities pertaining to them. It is vital that we understand that even the law does not suggest that drugs are legal or illegal - they are controlled. The word 'controlled' does not equate to prohibtion, but rather implies what we want, regulation proportionately imposed to achieve the amelioration of social harmfulness caused by the misuse of drugs. This can only be done if we recognise that peaceful use of controlled drugs is possible and indeed commonplace.

By Darryl Bickler | 4 February 2010 9:32 PM

About 25% of the population voted for the currently governing parties in the last general election, 50% of the population would like to see cannabis freed from the immoral criminality which is thrust upon its users.
I guess the christian parties are just running the country for its own bigoted views rather than making rational, scientific and humane policies, reflecting the majority opinion of the country.

By Lazlo | 4 February 2010 9:52 PM

Yes to: maths, alanposting & john.

No to: simplastic: many of the voters for the CDA have long changed their tune. Not just the pot issue, but many other issues concerning radical reform have had more than enough opposition...

Like most popular things, if you can implement control & tax, it's legal, if not, it's considered criminal.
There is no right or wrong in this matter, only the CDA's decision...

By stevie | 4 February 2010 11:55 PM

Pot will be legalized after the November election in California. Think of all those tourists flocking here, rather than Amsterdam, for their coffee shop experience. Sorry, Holland; you had your fun but had to elect the DCA to spoil it. We will be here, waiting for your euro dollars to help our bankrupt state while tourism in the Netherlands dries up. See you in Oaksterdam!

By eric | 4 February 2010 11:57 PM

It will be a sad day for the Netherlands when freedom is trampled upon by the christians, no tolerance for fellow humans, live and let live goes by the wayside, what has happened to the tolerance I saw in Holland, if you were not hurting another person you were allowed to live your life but not anymore, the christians want their version of life imposed on everyone.

By George Pappas | 5 February 2010 1:08 PM

50% support legalisation, 25% support prohibition. That's a 2:1 majority in support of legalisation, how can you call that clear majority a "split"?

By Derek | 5 February 2010 4:46 PM

George Pappas:

By stevie | 5 February 2010 5:07 PM

What SHOULD be outlawed is any religious groups, political or otherwise, from participating in public elections. Religion has no place in government and if I had my druthers, ALL religions would be wiped off the planet

By JK | 5 February 2010 5:27 PM

Being free means being able to choose on their own actions while do not violate the freedom of others. When someone tries to ban freedom of choice, shows that is against any freedom. It is the beginning of every fascism.

By German | 6 February 2010 11:32 PM

Kudos to you people of The Netherlands for providing an example to the world that marijuana tolerance is OK. Us Yanks are slowly moving to make cannabis prohibition a thing of the past in this country. The federal stance is keep it illegal, even for medicine.

By BuildingAirplanes | 11 October 2010 12:34 AM

Several states in the USA have passed laws providing for medicinal use, in which the US Government seems to conveniently forget about the Tenth Amendment of our Constitution, allowing rights not covered in the Constitution to be solely left to the states.

Last time I checked, there is not a thing in the Constitution specifically prohibiting cannabis, nor are the words "Cannabis", "Marijuana"/"Marihuana" or "Hashhish" even mentioned anywhere in it.

By AirplaneBuilder | 11 October 2010 12:37 AM

One needs to only look to the U.S.' problems, now much worsened by the steady stream of cannabis through the Mexican border and its associate violence, to see PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK. It's bad enough here where cannabis has never been tolerated. Imagine what happens when the coalition takes this unique privilege away in NL. It is not a far stretch to easily see street peddlers and the like, creating the exact situation many wish to avoid. Get control of the supply side, regulate and tax it, and allow responsible adults to consume if they wish.

By Lafe | 12 October 2010 3:43 PM

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