Government policy on drugs: blessing for criminal, curse for Treasury

1 March 2012

Government policy on drugs: blessing for criminal, curse for Treasury

SP Member of Parliament Nine Kooiman argues in favour of a fundamental change in the Netherlands’ policies regarding drugs. ‘Because of the gradual erosion of the tolerance policy, street trade is flourishing along with organized crime,’ she says. ‘The regularisation of soft drugs could produce at least half a billion euros a year in revenue. It seems to me that in these times that would be most welcome.’

Nine KooijmanIn Kooiman’s view, the measures taken by the government demonstrate a lack of sufficient knowledge of the issues involved. “They say that the THC content in marijuana must be lowered to 15% without saying how this should be checked. They want to introduce a special ‘marijuana pass’, the proposal with which the local authorities have the biggest problem, where they’ve said they see no advantage in it.”

Kooiman notes that the local authorities which have the biggest problem are themselves best equipped to tackle it. “In Venlo there were major problems with drug tourists,” she says. “The council itself decided to remove two coffeeshops from near the German border and the nuisance visibly diminished.”

Kooiman argues that the solution lies in regularising the cultivation of soft drugs, which she sees as the only way in which the composition of marijuana can be controlled. “This would remove the trade from the criminal circuit,” she says. “If the trade disappears completely underground, we would have absolutely no chance of controlling it and would be unable to give information to young people who are thinking of trying drugs.”
Lastly Kooiman points out that the income for the Treasury from regularised cultivation and supply to coffeeshops would represent a major financial windfall. “Conservative estimates of the savings on the amount of police work needed added to revenue from duties could produce a half a billion euros per year. Some experts argue that the figure would be twice this. In the interests of health, addressing the shortage of police, combatting nuisance and contributing to the Treasury, regularisation is the only practicable way.”

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