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  1. Amsterdam's 'no toking' signs set to become more of a collector's item after legal setback

    13 July 2011
    Other news

    After an only-in-the-Netherlands legal reverse, the city of Amsterdam will likely have to stub out the "no toking" signs it introduced in a crackdown on marijuana-smoking youth. The Dutch government's top legal adviser ruled that the city had no right to establish official zones where smoking weed is banned, since it's already theoretically illegal in the Netherlands. In practice, possession of small amounts of the drug is allowed, and it is sold openly in designated shops.

  2. van-gijzel

    Councils join forces to call for legalised marijuana production

    20 December 2013
    Other news

    The mayors of 25 Dutch local authority areas have increased their pressure on the cabinet to allow experiments with regulated marijuana production. The initiative is being powered by the mayors of Eindhoven and Heerlen and a Utrecht alderman, the Volkskrant said. The manifesto is a reaction to justice minister Ivo Opstelten’s decision not to approve experiments with regulated growing. (See also: The Netherlands is ready to regulate cannabis)

  3. Utrecht hopes to set up cannabis clubs - for medical research

    16 April 2013
    Other news

    Two foundations in Utrecht are to apply for exemption from the opium laws so they can set up ‘cannabis clubs’ to grow marijuana for medical research with city council backing, the Volkskrant reports. Council alderman Victor Everhardt, who is behind the plans, hopes his ‘cannabis club’ concept can become a reality on public health grounds. (See also: Utrecht wants 'cannabis clubs' to be allowed to grow drug for medical research)

  4. European court weighs cannabis ban for foreigners

    02 May 2010
    Other news

    A Dutch city has banned foreigners from its cannabis selling coffee shops. A European court will now decide whether this is legal. The continuing struggle of Dutch border towns against drug tourism could soon take a new turn, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) prepares to hand down a ruling regarding one of the most severe measures employed in this battle so far. The ECJ heard arguments in Josemans v. Maastricht. (See also: Court backs Dutch ruling on coffee shops)

  5. Cannabis regulation: high time for change?

    Rebecca Coombes
    20 May 2014
    Article

    Cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit drug. But for how much longer? In a short space of time we have moved from absolute global prohibition of the drug, with the emergence of legalised and regulated production and retail not in just one nation (Uruguay) but also, surprisingly, in two US states (Colorado and Washington). Do these and other new permissive models in Spain and Belgium, for example, point to a tipping point in the debate? Could cannabis step out of the shadows and join the ranks of alcohol and tobacco, the world’s most popular legal and regulated drugs?

  6. Minister Opstelten en de burgemeesterlijke ongehoorzaamheid

    Martin Jelsma
    29 January 2014
    Article

    Alle 25 Nederlandse burgemeesters die verzoeken hadden ingediend om te experimenteren met gereguleerde of gedoogde aanvoer van cannabis naar de coffeeshops, kregen als Kerst cadeau van minister Opstelten van Veiligheid en Justitie (VenJ) te horen: “nee, nee en nog eens nee”. En in zijn brief aan de Tweede Kamer klinkt tussen de regels door “en hou nou toch eens op met zeuren want dat gaat echt niet gebeuren”.

  7. Coffee shop owner sentenced for running criminal organisation

    24 March 2010
    Other news

    The owner of the Netherlands' largest cannabis-selling coffee shop was convicted for running a criminal organisation that purchased large quantities of drugs and processed and stored them. Meddy Willemsen, of the Checkpoint coffee shop in the southern border town Terneuzen, was given a 10 milion euro fine.The Middelburg district court ruled the cafe regularly had more than the legal limit of 500 grammes of cannabis on its premises. (See also: Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy | Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  8. Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy

    16 March 2009
    Other news

    The owner and several employees of the biggest coffee shop in the Netherlands are being prosecuted for membership of a criminal organisation. The outcome of the trial can have a huge impact on soft drugs policy in the Netherlands. If Meddy Willemsen, the owner of the mega coffee shop Checkpoint in Terneuzen, is convicted of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organised supply chain, more proprietors of coffee shops could face prosecution as gang leaders. (See also: Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  9. Amsterdam city council calls for licenced marijuana production

    07 November 2014
    Other news

    Ministers should sanction experiments to legally grow marijuana under licence and the city should make preparations to do so, according to a majority of Amsterdam city councillors. All VVD councillors in the city back the move. The VVD's position in Amsterdam is notable because VVD justice minister Ivo Opstelten has said repeatedly he does not favour regulated production and refused to sanction experiments. Meanwhile, the upper house of parliament came a step nearer to approving legislation which will make people who have helped illegal marijuana growers guilty of a criminal act. (See also: Coffeeshops want say in Amsterdam marijuana production)

  10. coffee-shop-licence

    Highs and lows in cannabis policy reform

    13 July 2014
    Press release

    Cannabis is the most widely produced and consumed illicit substance globally. A significant number of states have long engaged in soft defection from the UN drug control regime in relation to tolerant policies on the personal possession, cultivation and use of cannabis. Recently, there has been growing debate within political circles on the benefits of regulated cannabis markets. This has been driven by a number of factors, including the continuing illegality of supply, the associated and often violent involvement of criminal elements and the use of finite criminal justice resources. In this section you will find an overview of our most recent blogs on the issue.

    Latest: Mexico legislators consider regulating marijuana to protect human right, Zara Snapp, July 14, 2014

     

  11. Dutch elections: the battle for the stoner vote

    08 September 2012
    Other news

    When the Netherlands goes to the polls on Wednesday, the result could hinge on one, previously overlooked section of the electorate: the stoner vote. More than 350 Dutch coffee shops have thrown their weight behind a grassroots campaign in support of the leftwing Socialist Party (SP), which has pledged to end the political crackdown on shops that sell marijuana. The stakes are high: many believe that the parliamentary elections will be make-or-break day for the Dutch coffee shops.

  12. Models for the legal supply of cannabis

    27 May 2013

    Three United Nations Conventions provide the international legal framework on drug control, instructing countries to limit drug supply and use to medical and scientific purposes. Yet, debate continues on the decriminalisation, or even legalisation, of drugs, particularly cannabis. Models under development for the legal supply of cannabis are described in this analysis, as well as some of the questions they raise.

    Part of the ‘Perspectives on drugs’ (PODs) series, launched alongside the annual European Drug Report, these designed-for-the-web interactive analyses aim to provide deeper insights into a selection of important issues.

    Download PDF version

  13. Councils increase pressure for legal cannabis production

    26 April 2013
    Other news

    At least 10 of the Netherlands’ local councils have already or will soon submit plans to the justice ministry asking to be allowed to approve commercial marijuana growing. Newspaper Trouw showed councils are highly critical of official government policy on marijuana and say legalised production would remove organised crime from the equation. ‘Marijuana does not fall from the sky,’ said Heerlen mayor Paul Depla. (See also: Plan to ban strong marijuana unworkable, experts say)

  14. Dutch mayors call for growing marijuana

    23 November 2008
    Other news

    The Dutch government should licence the growing and supply of marijuana to the country’s 700 or so coffee shops that sell cannabis, according to a group of around 30 Dutch mayors. This is the conclusion of the ‘cannabis summit’ at which the mayors discussed the country’s policy on soft drugs. The mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel, said his city is prepared to run a ‘monitored pilot scheme’ to assess if a system of licenced growers reduces drugs-related crime.

  15. The Transparent Chain

    09 November 2013
    Article

    It is time that policymakers, law enforcement, professionals and other parties involved combine their efforts to work towards the implementation of a transparent cannabis chain that is organised in a responsible and professional manner.

  16. Christiania's resurgent cannabis trade marred by violence and intimidation

    06 June 2012
    Other news

    Almost a decade after extensive police raids in 2004 that were intended to clear out the drug dealers in Christiania, police estimate that the trade in cannabis is as strong as it was before. Residents explain that while the trade might have returned, the atmosphere is quite different from the days before the 2004 invasion by police, with greater levels of violence and intimidation. “The hash trade today is just as open as it was in 2004 and up on the same level. We believe that a billion kroner is sold every year,” according to Lau Thygesen, of the Copenhagen Police’s department for organised crime.

  17. 35 mayors call for regulated marijuana production; minister says no

    30 January 2014
    Other news

    In total, 35 local authorities have signed a manifesto calling on the government to sanction official experiments with legal marijuana production. The council leaders argue regulated growing would end the grey area between semi-legalised sales in cannabis cafes and illegal supply by criminal gangs. The signatories include the mayors of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht and Groningen. 'The current situation is unsustainable,' said Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.

  18. The Dutch 2012 election result and the coffeeshops

    Tom Blickman
    14 September 2012
    Other news

    The 2012 Dutch elections were hailed as decisive for the future of the coffeeshops, where the sale of small amounts of cannabis is tolerated. The result is inconclusive. The parties in favour of restricting the coffeeshops or outright abolishing them got 77 of the 150 seats, while those against the recently introduced 'cannabis pass' and/or in favour of regulating the supply of cannabis to the coffeeshops got 73. However, the issue is not that straightforward given that in the Netherlands no single party has an absolute majority and a coalition government has to be formed.

  19. Ending drug prohibition: the ultimate austerity measure

    OpEd by Frits Bolkestein, Els Borst c.s.
    18 May 2010
    Other news

    The ban on recreational drugs promotes crime and is bad for public health. Austerity measures to cut public spending are a hot topic for debate everywhere in Europe. In the Netherlands, where a new parliament will be elected next month, several proposals to reduce spending by 30 billion euros are on the table. All of these proposals hit where it hurts, but one option could actually be a welcome relief: drug regulation. (See also: Former ministers: legalise all drugs!)

  20. Dutch 'weed pass' law driving cannabis trade underground

    08 October 2012
    Other news

    Maastricht - formerly a mecca for drug tourists from across western Europe - has called for police reinforcements to handle "aggressive" street pushers, who have taken over almost all trade in marijuana and cannabis since authorities introduced tighter controls on legal outlets. The Dutch town's Mayor Onno Hoes wants to double the number of dedicated police officers in order to control the black market, which has benefited from the region's draconian "weed pass" law.

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