Column

Title: Legalise the use of cannabis

Written by: André Beckers

Good news. The parliament has announced that the government is going to experiment with regulated cultivation of cannabis. A number of, still to be selected, Counsels are allowed to participate in the trail in 2018. In these Counsels the people who will cultivate the cannabis to supply the coffee shops, will be watched under supervision. By doing so the entire chain from production to selling the cannabis will become transparent. Basically these experiments must indicate if the implementation of the previously, by the Lower House (Tweede Kamer) adopted law: Wet gesloten coffeeshopketen” can be carried out. This law was made possible on initiative of Lower House member Vera Bergkamp (D66), who now is part of the Government.
In the coalition agreement, law and legislation for the purpose of uniform experiments regarding the tolerance of cultivating cannabis for recreational uses, have been announced. Is the legislator is working on new legislation, it is hoped for that the focus is on the individual. The politics must be brave enough to establish that drugs aren’t just harmful or morale objectionable. Admitting that drug use on an individual and social level can be of added value. How many beautiful art pieces and music compositions have been made under the influence of drugs? Many! The freedom to use drugs as an human right must be a bold choice made by the government.
From photos of the lengthy formation it appears that informateur Zalm needs a smoke break. Just a cigarette to relax. Not healthy, but yet legal. Some negotiators were photographed with a glass of beer on the table. Drinking beer is legal. Nobody is looked down on for the use of alcohol or nicotine. Why do so when using cannabis? There is no reason why you should. By using cannabis you aren’t harming anyone. Maybe just your own health, but isn’t that also the case with cigarettes and alcohol? The ban on cannabis is a remedy that is more severe than the ail. The remedy costs a ton of money but isn’t bearing any fruits. In practice it is like putting a plaster on a wooden leg. This year a book ”de kwaal is erger dan het middel” was published. This book was edited by former psychiatrist Freek Polak. Many writers speak out on the necessity to legalize drugs. The book by Peter Muyshondt impressed me even more. In “beleid op speed” this Belgium chief of police explains why all drugs should be legalized.
It is about time that the politics acknowledge that an adult citizen must have the freedom to make the choice to use a substance that suites them. Let’s get used to this idea by creating a law that allows the use of cannabis. For those who claim that the use of cannabis isn’t against the law, you are invited to explain how you can use cannabis without being allowed to possess cannabis. At this moment the Opiumwet (Law regarding Opium) prohibits intentional possession of cannabis. By legalizing the possession of cannabis for personal use, cannabis is accepted as a stimulant by our society. Once the possession and the use of cannabis by an adult is allowed by law, it is not more than logical that the government should come up with rules regarding the production and trade in cannabis. From the government could be expected that the production and trade in cannabis are regulated the same way as alcohol, cigarettes and other products for consumption. The time is ripe.
Translated by Joanna McKernan. Joanna works as a Lawyer for the law firm Beckers & Bergmans in Sittard. She is a native English speaker. Joanna has a lot of experience in cannabis related civil cases.

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