The government has plans to ban so-called "growshops", shops where individuals can buy seeds and other items to grow marijuana at home. The Minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, announced during the debate that within a few months there will be a change in the law that will make it impossible to grow cannabis at home and will impose harsh penalties on those who do so.

After more than 30 years, the Netherlands will change its drug policy, until now the most liberal in the world. This was decided in a parliamentary debate on the subject. As expected, the famous "coffeeshops" were not left out of the discussion.

Toughening of the law

The majority of the House gave its support to the minister's plans to tighten the law regarding the use, cultivation and sale of drugs. The representative of the majority party in government, the Christian Democrats, even spoke of closing down the so-called "coffeeshops", where anyone can buy or consume a small amount of soft drugs. It is likely that a majority of parliamentarians will also give their approval to this measure.

After more than 30 years, the Netherlands will make changes to its drug policy,
After more than 30 years, the Netherlands will make changes to its drug policy,

This situation is the result of the combination of political forces now in government. It is the most conservative alliance in recent years. Three parties are in the cabinet: the Christian Democrats (CDA), the social democrats of the PvdA and the Christian Union, a small Christian party.

The party that has most noticeably changed its position is the socialists of the PvdA. To the surprise and displeasure of the progressive opposition in parliament, the PvdA has passed almost all the restrictive motions of its government allies. This, coupled with the fact that the liberals of the VVD and the extreme right of the PPV maintain a clearly conservative position on drugs, means that for the first time in many years the Netherlands is close to changing its policy in this area.
The left-wing opposition has declared the announced changes a disaster. It is true that the Dutch drug policy has been criticised in many countries, argues the left, but it can be called a success. For example, for many years the Netherlands has been among the countries with the fewest drug-related deaths.

 

The government plans to ban so-called "growshops", shops where individuals can buy seeds and other items to grow marijuana at home.
The government plans to ban so-called "growshops", shops where individuals can buy seeds and other items to grow marijuana at home.

 

Political principles

According to experts, the latter is largely due to the transparency of the system, the strict division between soft and hard drugs and the careful attention given to addicts. The government wants to put an end to the liberal drug policy out of political principles and because it is in opposition to general European standards. But these changes come, paradoxically, at a time when many European governments are beginning to consider following the Dutch example, because they find it successful.

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