Yesterday's post included a statement released by the American Society of Addiction Medicine opposing state marijuana legalization initiatives. The statement is part of a White Paper released by the organization that provides a comprehensive overview of the marijuana-related issues that they took into consideration when developing it. Section V of the White Paper provides international context. Here is an excerpt:
Those in favor of legalizing marijuana in the United States sometimes turn to the experience of other nations with less restrictive approaches to drug policy, particularly the Netherlands and Portugal, to inform their cause. As noted, no country has legalized marijuana use and sale. In the Netherlands, the use, possession, and sale of marijuana all remain illegal. The laws which would typically ban marijuana "coffee shops" (where marijuana is sold) and marijuana users within these shops are not enforced is a policy of "toleration." Historically, Dutch coffee shops have been permitted to sell marijuana under simple, but strict conditions such as without advertisement, in limited amounts (5 grams) per person each day, only to adults age 18 and older, and without "cause of nuisance." The marijuana sold in these shops has been and continues to be illegally grown and/or imported.
In other words, what is being proposed by marijuana legalization proponents in the United States, including Washington, is not at all similar to what is allowed in the Netherlands.