During the Coldest Winter we have had in a long time, The Beast of the East was upon us, I went on a 2 week vacation to Amsterdam to take a look at the many Coffeeshops that they have which are open for all, anybody can buy some of the good stuff, apart from under 18’s of course.
It got me thinking about why on earth would people want to criminalise the drug, why back in the UK, the Palace of Westminster is so full of old Politicians and Peers that are so scared of the drug and so stuck in their “Traditional” way of thinking, why do they have to make it so hard for themselves? Banning and Criminalising all drugs is a recipe for disaster.
However, in the Netherlands, Cannabis is not Legal, it is allowed. Which puts me in a weird confused state because I always thought, like many Tourists that Amsterdam was the place to go for Legal Cannabis, however the Police won’t be stopping you to search you and plant some weed so they can make an arrest, no, they are quite liberal with it. You can have up to 5 Grams of Flower on you at any given time. (Amsterdam Coffeeshops Guide, Amsterdam.info), so this begs the question, why is it allowed but it is illegal? how does that work?
It is said that the Netherlands has to be seen to enforcing Intentional Law to stop mass imports of drugs, it is believed.
” The CDA advocates strict enforcement of the current tolerance policy. ‘We must coordinate our drug policy with the surrounding countries. Otherwise you only import more drugs, ‘says CDA MP Van Haersma Buma. VVD Member of Parliament Griffith states that the views of Judge Lampe are entirely in line with the views of her party. ‘Drugs are part of our society, you have to learn to live with that.’ “
(Marc Peeperkorn, volkskrant.nl, 22nd April 2003)
The Netherlands Political and Judicial heads seem to have a very liberal way of thinking, they seem to accept the fact that Weed is part of society and there is no way they want to ban the plant as people want to use it and it is very good for Tourism.
So, by this stance, I believe that it would take a change in the International law of the UN to accept the fact that Weed is part of Western Society and it shouldn’t be criminalised, to a certain extent.
The Netherlands has categorized types of drugs, Weed is part of the “Soft Drugs” category and LSD, Cocaine etc. are all “Hard Drugs”, I find this more helpful, where as in the UK and US they have several levels and each drug can be moved to one level to another, for Instance the UK has 3 Classes, Class A, B and C. If you are found to have been using or in possession of a Class A drug (Cocaine) you can see yourself locked away for up to 7 years with an Unlimited Fine (Gov.uk, https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing). It is up to 5 years in prison for Cannabis, which is a Class B Drug.
However, in the UK, the Police seem to be less worried about Cannabis and they are not enforcing the law as much as they should in the eyes of the law.
” Police forces across Britain are quietly turning a blind eye to cannabis use in order to focus their attentions on more pressing priorities, drug experts have claimed “
(Martin Evans, The Telegraph, 22nd July 2015)
Back in 2015 County Durham Police gave growers a green light to grow the drug (The Telegraph, “Police force gives Cannabis users green light to grow drugs”, Martin Evans, 21st July 2015), which seems to be a step closer to what the Netherlands have been doing for years, to allow the consumption and growing of the plant. However the Durham Police said that they will not allow Commercial Cannabis farms, which seems to be the same view that the Netherlands has, however I don’t seem to understand this view, they say they want to make sure that the Mass Production and Importing/Exporting of the Drug is Illegal, I understand that this is the UN’s Policy so all countries that are part of the UN has to obey this, however in my eyes, it seems to happen anyway, how would Coffeeshops survive? they have to do it in secret and away from the eyes of Police just to keep the business open, so clearly we are a long way off from being in a safe environment where Cannabis is Universally accepted.
“In the Declaration on the Rule of Law, Member States recognized the importance of strengthened international cooperation in countering the world drug problem”
(The United Nations and the Rule of Law, Drug Trafficking)
So because of the United Nations Rule of Law, member states are not allowed to be legalising the Mass Trade of Prohibited Substances, which begs the question, what if a member state legalises Cannabis? would that member state be breaking International Law? I seem to think so, because unless all of the member states legalise the drug at the same time (as a UN Treaty) it would be Illegal because it maybe Legal in one Country, but it would allow the mass trade of Cannabis to be seeping into other states as the gangs cross the boarder, which would then be a massive problem in the eyes of International Law.
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