Cannabis contradictions in Holland, the never-ending story.
Dutch Justice Minister Donner and Health Minister Hoogervorst want to ban Nederweed from coffeeshops, high THC marihuana threatens the health of smokers, they state.
The Amsterdam City Council wants to legalise the production of Nederweed, in order to get a transparent situation, and to get the production out of the hands of criminals. Who will win, The Hague or Amsterdam?
Translation: “Smoking Nederweed can have very damaging physical and mental effects. The number of reports of psychosis amongst the youth, after smoking Dutch hash has increased enormously, according to the Ministry of Health.”
Source: De Telegraaf, April 7, 2004.
This is Minister Donner’s motivation to go after the coffeeshops, a very false motivation, that is. Since 1997, youths under 18 were no longer allowed to enter coffeeshops, so the youngsters started buying on the street. On the street, the youth get offered all kinds of drugs, not only cannabis. Yet, the Ministers Donner and Hoogervorst blame the coffeeshops for causing problems in the bodies and minds of people that are not allowed into coffeeshops. Maybe it is the poly drug use of our youth that causes ‘very damaging physical and mental effects’ on our youth, it is certainly not to blame on Holland’s licensed coffeeshops.
Justice Minister Donner will use every excuse he can come up with to go after coffeeshops, their suppliers and visitors. His latest attack on cannabis and coffeeshops is co-based on the increased percentage of THC in the homegrown marihuana, Nederweed. According to Minister Hoogervorst, this increase in potency is the cause of many cases of schizophrenia amongst users of cannabis, which makes him think high potency Nederweed and Nederhash can well be considered harddrugs now. Minister Donner will launch an investigation into the THC percentage in Nederweed, to be able to prove there is a significant increase, as Hoogervorst claims.
In case Donner does not like the dimensions of that increase, he will ban Nederweed and its extract, Nederhash from coffeeshops, and put them in between heroin, cocaine and amphetamines on the hard drugs list. As far as I am aware, there is no standard for the percentage of THC in cannabis, so when is the percentage too high?
Donner will cause worldwide panic amongst tourists planning to smoke cannabis in Amsterdam, as always. As always, I will have to explain the smokers around the world what the implications of Donner’s brain farts could be, if they would be accepted. It practice, it means that Donner will set a certain figure, as the line between cannabis that can be sold through coffeeshops as softdrugs and cannabis that will be considered as harddrugs, with all penal consequences of hard drugs.
I am afraid that Donner will try to set the line on 6 %, which practically excludes all Nederweed, except from some outdoor varieties, from Dutch coffeeshops. If the same percentage goes for hash, which is an extracted concentrate of cannabis, it will exclude all hash, except the poisonous soapbar, which hardly contains any THC.
That means that Jack Herer and the White Widow will become outlaws in Holland, and all their resinous sister plants as well!
Donner has realised he has no power to close the coffeeshops, after his proposals to ban smoking and foreign smokers from coffeeshops, so he is going at the cannabis industry from every other angle he can find.
Under Donner, we no longer have raids on growrooms, like the old days, nowadays, we have full out razzia’s; the Police locks off complete flat apartment buildings, scan all apartments with thermal equipment, and kick in the doors of houses that show unusual heat. In that case, two months ago, the police kicked in 14 doors, behind 7 of them was a growroom, in the other 7 houses the heating was just up high…
A few weeks later, the Police locked off a complete neighbourhood, after the Utility company tips them about disappearing electricity. Kids leaving the neighbourhood had to open their school bags for the police at the roadblocks. These razzia’s make marihuana growers look like threats to society, while real criminals are being released because of the failure of the Dutch Justice system.
Minister Donner and Hoogervorst say they want to ban high percentage THC marihuana for the good of our Dutch society, under pressure of several prohibitionist governments. They are as dumb as a donkey’s behind. Their proposed anti cannabis measurements will endanger the health of cannabis smokers more than in the present situation, and will get organised crime back in the Dutch cannabis trade.
Over the last 15 years, Dutch homegrowers have caused a major change in the sales through coffeeshops, by supplying the cannabis industry with the best marihuana they could grow. Before that, the sales in coffeeshops consisted of foreign cannabis products, for about 95 %, all merchandise was smuggled into the Netherlands. The other 5 % was made up by outdoor grown marihuana, with a low THC percentage.
Hash, mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco, were brought into the Netherlands by the truck- and shipload, by powerful organisations, causing a lot of gang related crime in our country.
Today, 80 % of the cannabis sales in the Dutch coffeeshops consist of Dutch marihuana, Nederweed. The Dutch Homegrown Division wiped out organised crime involved in hash smuggling, by supplying a better quality cannabis product than the ‘old’ hash producing countries. Huge hash transports stopped when hash started stacking up in Dutch warehouses, it was no longer selling. Hash is now only available in small quantities of high quality, smuggled in by adventurers, like in the beginning. The sales of foreign hash and (seeded) marihuana are only 20 % of the Dutch cannabis market now, that figure will only decrease more in the feature, due to the production of hash out of Nederweed, the so-called Nederhash.
Even if Minister Donner gets his will done, the Dutch smokers will not stop smoking, and coffeeshops can only keep selling low-grade weed and hash. The demand for cannabis will not disappear, which will awake the sleeping giants of the former hash trade. The same criminal organisations, and some new gangs, will start the transport lines from Morocco, Afghanistan and Pakistan back up in no time. Gangs will start fighting over market shares again; bullets will fly on crowded squares and streets. To get the huge transports across borders, customs and police officers will again be intimidated and/or corrupted by ruthless gangsters. In other words, Minister Donner’s proposed measurements against cannabis and coffeeshops will benefit criminals and harm Dutch society, big time! If Donner does not realise all this, he is just plain dumb.
Minister Hoogervorst, our Minister of Health with dental problems, states that the use of cannabis is the cause of the increasing number of people suffering from psychosis and schizophrenia. The use of cannabis might trigger psychosis in people, like the use of alcohol, XTC, LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, heroin, morphine and a long list of other drugs, or a tragic event in the family. Remkes and Donner are basing their statistics on estimated figures, as always. They state that in the Netherlands only 400.000 people use cannabis, 2.5 % of the population! This is absolutely untrue, but if it were true, it would only underline the success of the current Dutch Drugs Policy!
In spite of all criticism on our country’s liberal drugs policy and cannabis selling coffeeshops, only 2.5 % of the Dutch population actually uses cannabis, with the best possible availability of this soft drug in the world! Donner should be pleased with that, the cannabis consumption in the prohibitionist US, for instance, is 9.3 %, according to UN Drug Abuse figures. This report also shows that cannabis consumption in the Netherlands are 5.6 %, more than twice as much as Donner and Hoogervorst state in their proposals. It also unveils that the Netherlands are in the 31st position in cannabis consumption percentage, far under the US, the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium, to mention a few nations that criticise the Dutch liberal cannabis policy! Minister Donner and Hoogervorst know the figures in this list, yet, they state that the Netherlands only has 2.5 % of its population using cannabis. That makes them frauds, in my opinion.
Source: UNODC – Global Illicit Drug Trends 2003.
If Donner and Hoogervorst’s given figures, 2.5 %, were true however, Donner and Hoogervorst should be proudly telling the world to allow coffeeshops to reduce the use of cannabis in all other countries as well, instead of trying to get them all closed in their own country.
If the Dutch smokers would be forced into smoking low-grade cannabis in coffeeshops, they will have to smoke more joints to get the high they expect out of smoking cannabis, forcing them to smoke twice as much joints as they did when smoking strong Nederweed. This does not really contribute to a better health, especially when one considers most of the Dutch cannabis smokers use tobacco in their joints! Minister Remkes, who smokes tobacco himself, does not seem to care about that, he intends to prevent mental diseases with his proposed measurements, seemingly not aware of the certain increase of serious lung damage amongst cannabis users. Minister Hoogervorst is an incompetent Minister of Health, if he did not foresee all this, before he shouted his smelly loud mouth.
It would also make smoking a lot more expensive for cannabis smokers; they would have to buy twice the amount of cannabis they used to buy, to fill the double amount of joints they will start smoking.
Of course, the coffeeshop owners raise their voice in protest, with very good arguments, as you can imagine, but that will not impress Donner and Hoogervorst so much, as they consider my colleagues and me the roots of all evil. They will ignore our criticism, as always, and just carry on with what they have cooked up, if they get the consent of the Parliament. That will be hard, only the CDA wants coffeeshops closed and cannabis banned, with the surprising new support of D’66, one of their coalition partners. Their other coalition partner, the VVD, has no stance about cannabis, as always. All other parties do not wish a society without coffeeshops, they realise it would only take the sales and consumption of cannabis to the streets, mixed up with all other drugs and their users.
The strongest opposition, in my opinion, comes from the political fractions of the Amsterdam City Council, all of which, besides Donner’s CDA, of course, which clearly turn the Donner/Hoogervorst plans down. They are presenting their plans to legalise the production of cannabis for coffeeshops a day before Donner will plead for research into the THC level in Parliament, on Thursday, April 8. The two ignorant Ministers cannot ignore the criticism of the Amsterdam City Council; it will make them give up on their stupid idea.
Donner’s anti cannabis plans are as follows:
Coffeeshops near schools and in urban area will no longer be tolerated.
++That regulation exists since 1996, all coffeeshops near schools have been moved since then. Donner picked up an old stick to beat up on a dead dog.
Cannabis tourism in the border areas will be discouraged.
++Sure, like stopping the foreign visitors on their way back home, after buying cannabis. These actions are executed by the Netherlands, together with Germany and/or Belgium. Foreigners can just keep buying cannabis in Haarlem and Amsterdam, however.
Eliminate all cannabis producers, penalties for cannabis production up to a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.
++Nederweed out, foreign hash in? All the money involved in the production and trade in cannabis will no longer flow into the struggling Dutch economy, it will now go to Morocco, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Mexico, Columbia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, South Africa and Nepal. These are the countries that produce hash and marihuana too, we sell products from this country from our coffeeshops already. The small transports of high quality foreign cannabis will be replaced by mega transports of low grade hash, soft drugs will again be in the hands of tough criminals.
The Netherlands need to build a few huge new prisons to lock up all cannabis growers that get caught by Donner’s cunning police officers, all Dutch prison cells are full.
Ban cannabis with a high THC level, for health issues.
++How about banning liquor with a high alcohol percentage, like whisky, vodka, gin,
and rum, we all know these substances do kill people? Let’s put all these on the black list too, so bars can only sell beer and wine from then….
The ”Manifest to normalise the soft drugs market”, published by all Amsterdam political fractions, except CDA, takes the following stance:
Legalise the production of Nederweed for coffeeshops.
Check the quality and production methods of this legally produced cannabis.
No more restrictions on the coffeeshops stock, drop the 500 grams limit.
Stop the export of Nederweed by acting against unlicensed growers.
The Manifest states that criminalising Nederweed would cause huge social problems and create thousands of criminal records. They do accept that Nederweed should be investigated for THC percentages, from the medical point of view.
I just read that the Cabinet, which means the coalition of CDA, VVD and D’66 have agreed with the Donner/Hoogervorst proposals. This means there will be an investigation into the percentage of THC and the long terms of cannabis use. If these researches show the THC level damages the health of cannabis smokers, the sales of Nederweed will be prohibited. This would create a new market in the Netherlands, good, quality Nederweed will be for sale in the black circuit from then, for high prices, as they are now considered a hard drug. It will then be totally out of control of any authority, even Donner’s and Hoogervorst’s, well done, gentlemen! The struggling Dutch harddrugs dealers will gladly add cannabis to their wide range of products.
The opposition in the Dutch Parliament will not like this at all, they would like to see cannabis legalised.
Sceptic Members of Dutch Parliament had a nice comment on all the commotion around THC and coffeeshops, in the Telegraaf of April 7, 2004:
“Sceptic Members of Parliament point out this is a ‘fake discussion’, because it does not make a difference to smoke one Nederweed joint, or two joints of foreign origin”
It does, dear politicians, we have to smoke twice as much to get a proper high, including twice as much tobacco, hash does not burn in a joint without tobacco!
That’s all, for the time being, I will keep you informed about the follow-ups.
Nol van Schaik.
Coffeeshop entrepreneur, author of “The Dutch Experience, 30 years of hash and grass in coffeeshops” http://www.hempcity.net
United Nations Drug Figures
Manifest to normalise the soft drugs market
For the full newspaper articles.