Marijuana and Cannabis News
|If that joint Dutch blogger Peter Lunk is smoking contains more than 15 percent THC, he just became a "hard drug user" according to official Dutch policy. Insanity abounds.|
The Dutch have been a source of both exhilaration and exasperation with their hard-to-pin-down cannabis policies for the past 40 years. Often held up as a model of tolerance by those in less-permissive countries, they actually have some serious perception problems of their own.
A couple of those have come to light recently, first with a move afoot (and gaining ground) to ban foreigners from "coffee shops" in the Netherlands, which sell marijuana and hashish to customers under an odd policy of "official tolerance" wherein cannabis is still officially illegal.
And now, another move from the apparently clueless Dutch leadership, even more nonsensical: They've decided that marijuana is a hard drug -- if it's good.
No, that's not a typo. Despite almost universal agreement among pharmacological experts that marijuana and its active ingredients, the cannabinoids, are non-toxic, relatively benign, maybe even good for you, and impossible to overdose on, they've decided righteous weed is right up there with heroin and cocaine.
The Dutch cabinet is making the decision today (Friday) to count the most potent cannabis as a Class A hard drug in the Netherlands, reports Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
The hashish and marijuana currently sold in the Netherlands contain an average of 18 percent THC, according to the government, which claims (without any real scientific evidence) that "continual high doses of THC can lead to addiction or even cause psychosis."
|Professor Henk Garretsen, who chairs the Dutch government's commission on drug policy, unfortunately doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about when it comes to cannabis|
The cabinet claimed its decision was based on recommendations by the "Garretsen Commission" presented earlier this year. That commission, headed by anti-pot ideologue Professor Henk Garretsen, said that "hard drugs pose an unacceptable risk to the user," and oh-so-conveniently decided to classify good pot as a "hard drug."
The commission concluded that any marijuana containing more than 15 percent THC falls under its ridiculous "hard drug" classification, which means according to those mental midgets, we've all been doing "hard drugs" for years (with positive effects).
The decision means that if cannabis is found to be above the 15 percent THC limit, its sale will no longer be tolerated. While "soft drugs" such as cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms aren't technically legal in the Netherlands, the open sale of small quantities through the coffee shops has been tolerated.
The new rule separating cannabis into a soft as well as a hard drug will have several effects, Dutch blogger Peter Lunk of Mr. Lunk's Hideout told Toke of the Town on Friday.
"People will keep wanting to use the weed they have used for years, and if they cannot get this in the shops, they will turn to the home dealers and street dealers to get it," Lunk said. "The price will go up because of the risks involved.
"Often, the street dealers will try to sell them other things like amphetamines, GHB, coke and such," Lunk told Toke of the Town. "This is bad for general public health."
"Those people who used to grow up to five plants within the Dutch tolerance policy towards home growing will be facing serious court cases if they are found to be growing, producing, storing or using 'hard drugs' containing more than 15 percent THC," Lunk said. "Even medical home growers will face this problem.
"Normal people who may carry up to five grams under the tolerance policy could be arrested and face serious court cases resulting in mandatory drug treatment in clinics, if their cannabis is found to be stronger than 15 percent THC," Lunk said, "because then they are by law carrying an illegal List 1 substance."
According to Lunk, coffee shops cannot test the weed because a government-approved lab is needed to do that. "When a coffee shop is found to be selling 15 percent-plus THC weed, they get closed indefinitely and the owner faces heavier charges.
"I also expect a huge growth in the export of strong Dutch weed and prices going up abroad for this now more-exclusive product, for which growers have to take more serious risks," Lunk told me Friday. "The growers are now stuck with, most probably, thousands of kilos of weed that is growing now for the Dutch coffee shops -- which won't buy it from tomorrow on."
According to Lunk, Dutch cannabis consumers also face the specter of coffee shops being entirely out of weed because marijuana with less than 15 percent THC is simply not grown by most commercial growers.
The Cabinet has not said when it will begin enforcing the ridiculous new rule.
Impact on Medical Marijuana Uncertain
It's still unclear the exact impact the new "hard drug" rule for cannabis with more than 15 percent THC will have on medical marijuana in the Netherlands.
"In Holland we have government-subsidised and legalized Bedrocan® medical marijuana," Lunk told Toke of the Town. "Patients have been depending on this variety for years now. And now that state-approved and -provided weed will probably become a hard drug too -- since it contains 19 percent THC..." Lunk's voice trailed off.
"Sad... very sad indeed," he said.