Dutch drugs policy to get 30-year review

A majority of MPs have called for a wide-ranging review of Dutch drugs policy following concerns that an increasing number of youngsters are getting into trouble with soft drugs such as marijuana.

The Netherlands has a policy of turning a blind eye to the possession of up to five grammes of marijuana for personal use.
The call came during a day-long debate on the country’s drugs laws. Health minister Ab Klink agreed to carry out the research which will focus on developments over the past 30 years. The goal is to determine if the practise of ignoring soft-drug use has limited the risks involved with drug use as promised when it was first devised.
However, Klink stressed the research will be ‘extremely difficult’, partly because there is no statistical information dating back to the time soft drugs laws were relaxed. The aim of the change was to take soft drugs out of the criminal sphere.
During Thursday’s debate, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said he is planning to crack down on the production of marijuana in the Netherlands – particularly the number of shops selling supplies for growers, such as seeds, specialist lighting and fertilisers.
Ministers are also looking at ways to reduce the role of the internet in the drugs trade and cut back on drugs tourism. Belgium and Germany have raised concerns about the location of marijuana-selling coffee shops close to their borders.
Measures have already been taken to reduce the number of coffee shops near schools.

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