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Dec 3, 2018

Weed in the Netherlands

Another question the journalists sought answers for was about the liberal use of marijuana in the Netherlands. It was not so common in The Hague; in fact, it was hardly noticeable. But in the capital city of Amsterdam, there are hundreds of what are called coffee shops, essentially marijuana shops, that are given permits to sell marijuana for recreational use.  These shops are not allowed to sell alcohol and are regulated to close earlier than other establishments, like bars in the city. But many from afar have long believed these actions equated to the legalization of the drug in the Netherlands. That is not quite the case. In fact, the Netherlands has only decriminalized small quantities of marijuana and regulated it around schools – very similar to our own laws in Belize. We asked in-country correspondent for the AFP to explain.


Jan Hennop

Jan Hennop, Correspondent, AFP

“People come to the Netherlands and they think that everybody walks around a bicycle and it’s not true because people come to the Netherlands and they think of places like Amsterdam they have a certain perception of Amsterdam. Having lived here for almost ten years now, my perception of the Dutch is that they are very pragmatic. People might not always with all the stuff that is happening but they look at certain pragmatic solutions to certain questions like the drug question for instance cities in the Netherlands and now looking at legally cultivating marijuana because there is still a big problem with the supply of marijuana which is still a big problem still in the hands of criminals or organizations which is still a problem In this country too. Marijuana is still illegal in the Netherlands. Cultivation, selling and smoking it is still illegal. Technically, yeah. But what the Dutch did was in the 1970’s. I think it was 1976; they brought in what they call a tolerance policy. They didn’t change the law, but they did. And the policy is that you are allowed a certain amount of weed that you can carry around. If you these sort of things you walk around and you wont get arrested by a policeman or that sort of thing but if you stand in front of a police station and you light a joint. The police can arrest you. Some people to their despair only realize after they have been arrested because it is still illegal.”

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