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New marijuana laws in Amsterdam - The Red Light District Amsterdam Guide - discover the secrets!
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New marijuana laws in Amsterdam

Date: 13. jul 2018.

The authorities in the Netherlands chose to openly ignore that the use of cannabis is illegal, and they do not prosecute anyone owning the amount for personal use. Their aim is to target the distributors, not the end users. This Dutch model is called “gedoogbeleid” and it is the reason for the opening of hundreds of coffee shops across the Netherlands. These establishments are luring marijuana connoisseurs from all over the world as the places where they can legally purchase weed and smoke a joint without fear. Nowadays, it looks like the situation is about to change.

Under the new consideration the weed or hash that has more than 15% of THC which makes it intoxicating is on the way to be reclassified as the “hard drug” and the use and possession will be followed with the stiff penalties. The government gave the coffee shops an option to choose between selling the pot or alcohol, encouraging them to actually choose alcohol. There use to be around 300 coffee shops in Amsterdam and over 1000 scattered across the country. Now, there were less than 200 shops in Amsterdam and around 620 nationwide. It is illegal to grow weed in Amsterdam, so the way the coffee shops get their merchandise is actually always in the gray zone. The government chooses to look the other way and it looks like the weed magically appears on the coffee shop counters.

This will no longer be the case. In the past people could grow up to five plants in their home without the fears of prosecution but the new laws are targeting even the smallest marijuana growers in the Netherlands. The new policy guidelines that were issued in 2011 declare that anyone who grows weed with electric lights, prepared soil, selected seeds or ventilation will be considered as the professional grower and will risk major penalties. Because of these new guidelines many of the coffee shop owners are rather buying weed from criminal organizations which are willing to absorb the risk of prosecution, but this way they are sometimes risking the quality of weed because these organizations sometimes have little regard for quality or mold abatement.

Netherlands is receiving the high profits from the drug tourism and it is the major element of the city’s economy and it is the main reason why the government officials in Amsterdam are fighting to keep the coffee shops from going out of business.

Approximately one-third of visitors in Amsterdam steps into one of the coffee shops during their Amsterdam tour and banning such visitors would hit the tourism revenues hard and chasing off the travelers who tend to be well-behaved.

Holland’s passive-aggressive policy doesn’t stop an illicit activity or drug tourism or make anyone safer, according to the weed activists and it actually has the reverse effect. Quasi-legalization leaves too many entry points for criminals to line their own pockets from the drug trade. The new initiatives are needed that clearly spell out who is allowed to manufacture weed, distribute and consume it. That’s the key to a successful policy, and it’s the one Dutch activists are now working to implement in their own country, before things swing too far the other way.