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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
|Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs|
|Volume 3 - Public Policy Options|
Chapter 20 - Public Policy In Other Countries - The Netherlands
Data on use
Despite the Dutch "pragmatism", there are ultimately few reliable historical data on use trends. It therefore cannot be asserted that use trends significantly increased after the coffee shop system was introduced, nor can it be stated that they declined. The creation of the Trimbos Institute and its designation as a focal point in the OEDT's European network are correcting this situation.
The following tables contain data from the most reliable surveys.
CANNABIS USE IN THE NETHERLANDS
BY PEOPLE AGED 12 YEARS AND ABOVE. SURVEY YEAR 1997
CANNABIS USE IN THE FOUR LARGE CITIES AND IN SMALLER TOWNS
AMONG PEOPLE AGED 12 YEARS AND ABOVE. SURVEY YEAR 1997
(a) Definition: Towns with less than 500 addresses per square kilometre.
CANNABIS USE BY PEOPLE AGED 16 AND ABOVE IN
THREE URBAN AREAS. SURVEY YEAR 1999
Percentage of users: (a) 16 to 70 years, (b) 16 to 55 years. Recent use: last month.
LEVEL OF CANNABIS CONSUMPTION IN THE NETHERLANDS
BY RECENT USERS AGED 12 YEARS AND ABOVE. SURVEY YEAR 1997
(a) Adds up to 100%.
aged twelve and above in secondary schools (recent users)
RECENT CANNABIS USE IN SPECIAL GROUPS
As seen in Chapter 6, the available data on the Netherlands place the country somewhere in the middle of the field, behind Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Denmark, and far ahead of Sweden and Finland.
Whatever the case may be, and despite what some analysts refer to as a disastrous situation, the Dutch experience poses fewer problems in relation to drug use in the Dutch population than internal difficulties in connection with the nuisances caused by the coffee shops for Dutch citizens and neighbouring countries, Germany, France and Belgium, as a result of narco-tourism. Even more significant, the Dutch system, with its half measures, is faced with the problem of supplying coffee shops with cannabis and cannabis derivatives, which is still entirely illegal.
Holland does not escape criticism any more than other countries. From a theoretical standpoint, the very principle of de facto legalization is debatable. It fosters arbitrary action and, in particular, leaves the field open to trafficking. As much as the legalization of drug use has made it possible to get a handle on the phenomenon and make it visible so that it can be more effectively addressed, the legalization of trafficking prevents any control. (…) In practical terms, the criticisms are equally fundamental. The main criticism is that the Dutch policy has not reduced the use of drugs, hard or soft. (…) Nor has the Dutch policy eliminated the risks associated with drug abuse. (...) But it must also be recognized, and it is to the credit of the Dutch policy that, while the Netherlands has not actually done better than the prohibitionist countries in the fight against drug use, it has not done worse.
Ultimately, the most remarkable thing is the ability of the Dutch stakeholders themselves, as may be seen from their testimony before our committee, to admit the weaknesses and errors of their approach, while constantly seeking ways to correct them.
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LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
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American Society for Action on Pain
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Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
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Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
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