Cannabis campaigners in The Netherlands have been surprised by long-awaited news that there is chance of a major shift in cannabis legality in the coming year. Minister of Justice, Ard van der Stuer has announced that the legalisation of soft drugs (cannabis) will be the most important issue at the next general election. Until now, Dutch law has tolerated, rather than legalized, cannabis. This has created some legal anomalies, such as coffeeshops tolerated to sell cannabis to adult consumers, yet the actual production of cannabis remains in the hands of the blackmarket where revenues fund other illegal activities and no tax is paid. In the USA cannabis model all aspects of cannabis production, sale, transport and use have been legalized, this creates good jobs and taxable revenues for the Government.
Justice Minister Ard van der Stuer’s political party the 'VVD' currently take a position that cannabis is tolerated, and few politicians want to take the political risk of implementing a policy change without a vote. The VVD party is now thought to be 70% in favour of legalizing cannabis completely. A future VVD party vote is likely to fully legalize cannabis whilst allowing Ard van der Stuer to avoid taking personal responsibility for the ‘controversial' decision. Historically, the VVD previously resisted any progress in Dutch cannabis laws, as did the right-wing political parties in general.
This is a historic moment for Dutch cannabis laws. If cannabis is eventually fully legalized in Holland it could be a turning point for European cannabis laws in general.
September 16th 2016
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