Too high a percentage of tetra hydro cannabinol

The end of marijuana and hashish About half of the marijuana and hashish sold in the Netherlands has too high a percentage of tetra hydro cannabinol, THC. A government commission, headed by Henk Garretsen, advised to ban the marketing of such cannabis because the risks for the user are unacceptable.
The marijuana and hashish smoked in 2011 is considerably stronger than that used in 1976. According to Garretsen, in 1976 almost all cannabis sold in the Netherlands came from abroad, and the element that affects the consumer, THC, was 7%. Today, tolerated outlets, coffeeshops, sell Dutch marijuana, which contains a very high percentage of THC, between 15 and 18%. Garretsen believes that the maximum limit should be 15%.
According to Professor Garretsen, chairman of the drug commission that advises the government, since 1976 the Netherlands has had a strict drug policy that divides so-called soft drugs from hard drugs. The latter carry an unacceptable risk for the user, which is not associated with soft drugs. One of the most important criteria for qualification is the addictiveness of each drug.

Major risks

Nowadays, due to the enormous increase of THC in cannabis, new risks arise when consuming drugs that are freely available in coffeeshops. Garretsen explains: "The higher the THC content, the higher the risks. From the large number of epidemiological studies it is clear that cannabis use during adolescence is a risk factor for the development of psychotic disorders, dependence and other problems.

For that reason, Garretsen is of the opinion that coffeeshops should not sell cannabis containing more than 15 per cent THC and proposes that the average should be around 11 per cent. Because large-scale cultivation of soft drugs is prohibited, there is no possibility to control production. Such control takes place in coffeeshops, where strict requirements must be met.

Controls

Garretsen believes there are enough possibilities to control the percentage of THC, which would force growers to cultivate less strong marijuana. He adds: "It is of great importance for public health and society. Naturally, growers who increased the THC percentage will now have to do the reverse process, which won't happen in two days.

The end of marijuana and hashish

Reactions

Public Health Minister Edith Schippers was positive about the report and stated: "We are going to study it very well. I take the report very seriously because we have seen that the percentage of THC can have consequences for users. It is clear that this is an alarming development".
Coffeeshop owners reacted differently to the report. A spokeswoman for the Rotterdam Coffeeshop Association said that the consequence of reducing the amount of THC will be to boost criminality. She added: "This way, consumers are pushed to the street and will stop buying in the tolerated places, where there are strict controls. You can't control criminals, who don't stick to either the quantities they can sell or the minimum age to buy drugs.

Moreover, it is clear from abroad that the Dutch policy of tolerance works and they want to continue it in other countries. But we are just now starting a war on drugs here".
For its part, the Maastricht Coffeeshop Association is positive about the report because, it said, "... this way the state can demand more quality for cannabis". Marijuana and hashish sellers in Maastricht advise to consume less cannabis. Councillor Garretsen wants to keep the coffeeshops, because it is safer to buy the drug there than on the illegal market.
Source; Phillip Smet

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