Is the Netherlands Trading Places With Colorado on Marijuana Laws?
Even if a person is completely unaware of issues surrounding marijuana or its growing legalization, chances are they’ve seen jokes in sitcoms about Amsterdam being a pot utopia free-for-all. And usually there are stoner stereotypes thrown in for good measure. Yes, Amsterdam, Netherlands is the mecca of cannabis freedom, since 1970.
Uruguay saw the devastating effects of the war on drugs and turned things around to focus on rehabilitation – not police tactics. Colorado citizen demands and the value of cannabis as a beneficial medicine decriminalized dispensaries in the state. (The federal government “hasn’t gotten the memo” and still views even medical marijuana users as cold hard thugs that need punishment.)
But most mind-blowing of all, an article on Huffington Post by the author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs was shared nearly a quarter-million times in the first few days of its release. It turned hearts and minds and showed the true sentiment of Americans who are tired of the war on drugs and wish for different measures to help with hardcore drug addiction and stop treating cannabis users with beatings and ridiculous imprisonment.
Things are changing for sure, but no less so than for the formerly free-est cannabis freedom nation on Earth. The Netherlands has slowly but surely reversed roles and is introducing “a new repressive policy.”
Vice News reported in 2014:
- In multiple cities, only residents can purchase cannabis. Foreigners and tourists are banned from it.
- Some coffee-shops that allowed purchase have been closed down, but it’s not entirely illegal.
- The Amsterdam mayor took to banning marijuana shops in the red light district.
- The Dutch government targeted the nation’s top organic marijuana grower/activist Doede de Jong. They slapped a fine of a quarter-million Euros ($280,000 USD) and sentenced 100 hours of community service.
- Currently, while it’s increasingly illegal, the authorities aren’t prosecuting people for having small amounts.
- The anti-tolerance foothold was clear following 2001.
- Criminalization can lead to sinister growing, treatment and distribution practices.
With the creeping but clear crackdown, and making an example of the 64-year-old Jong, it looks like the marijuana industry in the Netherlands has been successfully pushed underground (pardon the pun). As such people have sought other ways to obtain cannabis seeds from the Netherlands to grow clean cannabis, as well as plants for both recreational and medicinal benefits. They have gone through the few avenues left to find it.
Read the interview of the Netherlands’ most prominent marijuana farmer and activist on the future of the plant for Dutch people. Will the Netherlands people point to Uruguay and the U.S. as examples of both failures and success and fight to keep their freedom to have cannabis?<