At the beginning of June, a Dutch bill was passed demanding that Coffee Shops in the pot-friendly city restrict the selling of drugs only to citizens of the Netherlands, starting 2012. Apparently, Amsterdam is fed up with all the wasted people within its midst.
At approximately the same time, a committee including Kofi Annan (former secretary general of the UN) issued a report claiming the war on drugs a failure and calling for the decriminalization of personal drug use. In a straight-forward no nonsense approach it says:
“End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others. Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence.”
Their main reasoning is that money spent locking up people on drug charges can be reallocated towards better goals, judging by the recent track record. The report has 11 recommendations in all, one of them being:
“Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs (with cannabis, for example) that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.”
Being in Amsterdam made me realize how much of this report rings true, which kind of made me perplexed regarding the Dutch initiative.
As an innocent bystander, who even after spending a week surrounded by the smell of weed still managed to not inhale (old habits die hard), I can honestly say Amsterdam is the most relaxed and welcoming city I have ever visited. And it’s not because people are constantly high, it’s due to the fact that if they get high they know no one will care. The freedom to do as you please, in lack of better phrasing, sets you free.
I am not advocating drug use, I am advocating choice. Which in this day and age should be self-explanatory.