Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Addiction experts statement: In the Netherlands marijuana is tolerated, not legal

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.


  1. No it is not similar to what they have in the Netherlands. What they propose is something better and less intrusive on personal freedoms. I can grow my own tomatoes, tobacco, and brew my own alcohol in my home. There is no logical reason to keep cannabis illegal other than the old conservative "moral" arguments. If drug policy was really there to protect us against mind-altering substances, then tobacco and alcohol would definitely be illegal as well.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Rafael. I urge you to read the text of I-502. What is being proposed does not allow individuals to grow their own marijuana like they can grow tomatoes in their gardens. What I-502 would do is create a free-market industry that includes annual licensing fees of $1,000 for marijuana growers, processors, and retailers. I-502 also states that, "Neither a licensed marijuana producer nor a licensed marijuana processor shall have a direct or indirect financial interest in a licensed marijuana retailer." Growing your own marijuana for personal use would remain illegal under I-502.

    I-502 would set up a highly regulated system that allows the Liquor Control Board to inspect premises of all in the marijuana industry, adopt rules about the method of producing, processing, and packaging marijuana, security requirements, training of employees, and more.

    As far as your comment about "no logical reason" to keep marijuana illegal, I suggest you take a look at some of the documents contained in the WASAVP Marijuana Education Toolkit at Another good source of information is the newly released book, Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Moral considerations are not included in either sources of information.