The Medical Marijuana Magazine


Didn't the legalization of drugs in the Netherlands lead to a sharp increase in addiction and violent crime?

No, for one simple reason: "drugs" are not "legal" in the Netherlands. It is Dutch policy not to arrest people for possession of small quantities of any "drugs" that are clearly for personal use. Similarly, addiction is treated as an illness. They also generally do not bother going after the small street dealers, because they know that one will immediately be replaced by another. However, they do arrest and prosecute and imprison large dealers and smugglers of "hard drugs" and hashish. When the prohibitionists talk about "drug-related" violence in Holland, it is the same as in the U.S. That is, it is prohibition related.

Otherwise, the Dutch murder rate is 80% below the American rate. They also have a much lower rate of hard drug addiction and even a lower rate of marijuana use than does the U.S. Holland completely escaped the crack cocaine epidemic that followed the suppression of marijuana in the U.S. in the 1980s.

Note: Even marijuana is technically illegal. The Dutch tolerate small quantity sales of marijuana and hashish in the famous coffee shops. They also tolerate small-scale cultivation of marijuana for personal use. The foundation of Dutch drug policy is to separate marijuana from the "hard drugs." They would like to fully legalize marijuana, but they have had to retreat from this under enormous pressure from France and the US, two countries whose drug problems are far worse than the Dutch. For more information on Dutch marijuana policies see Dutch Cannabis Policy Update and follow the related links to information on other aspects of Dutch drug policies.

Having lived in Amsterdam, I am all the more astonished at the degree to which the American people have been deceived by the "big lie" technique aimed at one our oldest allies. It is perfectly understandable why the DEA and its front groups find it necessary to lie about the Netherlands. What is much harder to understand is why everyone else seems so reluctant to learn from the success of Dutch policies.