The Dutch policy of regulating rather then prohibiting has obviously worked, as the percentage of regular (soft)drugs user is lower then in almost all european countries and even the United States. The only problem is that hemp was never actually legalized – in contrary to what many people believe – hemp is still an illegal substance according to Dutch law. This has led to the unworkable situation where people can buy small amounts at the coffeeshop but the coffeeshops can’t buy their hemp legally.
This “decriminalization” policy is a weird situation, but it has worked for years. However, in the past couple of years the political climate seems to be changing. Some elements in the Dutch government are doing everything in their power to stop people from having a bit of fun. In this context it means closing many coffeeshops, having coffeeshops owners choose between their liquor licence and their “coffeeshop” licence and now even closing most coffeeshops for tourist.
The proposal that will be discussed in parliament today is that of a members-only policy for all coffeeshops and tourists are only allowed in the larger coffeeshops. It is not exactly clear yet what this means for Amsterdam and other major cities, but it is another giant leap in the wrong direction. The Dutch government will put forward a new bill somewhere in the coming months which will (hopefully) give more clarity on how the future is going to look.
All we know is that if this proposal is actually going to come into effect it will cause more problems then it will solve.