Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Liberal soft drug policy is losing its footing

Permissive Drugs Policy

The Netherlands has known a infamously permissive policy on soft drugs in the past thirty years. Weed and mariuana could be sold and bought in "coffee shops". Many towns in The Netherlands have coffee shops and the city of Amsterdam used to boast about 400 coffee shops.

Problems with neighbouring countries

The legal availability of soft drugs led to complaints from European countries in the vicinity of the Netherlands. They blamed that some of their people were addicted as a result of the Dutch policy. The Dutch politicians sat the critisism out, convinced that in time all other nations would become as "progressive" as The Netherlands.

Drugs tourism and organised crime

The legal availability of weed led to a large amount of "drug tourism" to border towns. Citizens of Belgium, France and Germany travelled to these towns to buy and smoke here. This caused soft drug vendors to grow from small café like shops to big and busy mega shops. These shops in the Dutch border areas attract a lot of traffic of customers. Criminals prey on this traffic and the presence of so many stoned people caused all kinds of unpleasantness for citizens in neighbourhoods with licenced drugs vendors. Moreover the shops are often owned by organised crime, who has the capital to invest in licenced drug vendors. According to a government commission things have to tightened up:
The relaxed policy on cannabis and other soft drugs should be made much stricter, in order to limit negative side effects such as drugs tourism and organised crime.
In Amsterdam many soft drug vendors lost their soft drug or their alcohol licence. This caused a number of them to close. It looks like legal changes are now being prepared which will close down coffee shops in the border areas as well, especially the largest vendors.

Kill, kill the hippy!

Licenced drugs vendors, squatter rights, multiculturalism are all introduced in the 1960ies and 1970ies. For a long time they were part of the political orthodoxy and as such unassailable. This is now changing for the better.

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