Although, technically, the Netherlands has not legalized drugs, it has had a “tolerant policy” toward “soft drugs” like marijuana since the 1970s. The policy was adopted by the liberal government to alleviate drug problems by providing government controls to regulate their distribution and use as opposed to continuing the ongoing failures of trying to eradicate drug abuse altogether. By limiting drug sells to small amounts of soft drugs within coffee shops alone to people 18 and over (among other strict regulations), authorities assumed this would be a “pragmatic approach [to] actually focus on the big criminals who profit from drugs and who supply hard drugs.” They also desired the economic boost they would get from taxing it. As a result, the Netherlands became the poster child for decriminalizing and/or legalizing marijuana.
However, those assumptions were based on the naive belief that every player in the game would stick to their part and follow the rules and laws. They completely dismissed the age-old proven history of human nature to push the boundaries on increasing bad behavior when “less severe” bad behavior is condoned in a society. Organized criminal networks saw weaknesses in the system and began to take advantage of them. Moroccans with ties to criminal networks in Africa immigrated to the Netherlands. Mexican drug cartels and South American drug lords who supplied the drug routes in Africa for the Moroccans also immigrated to the Netherlands.
Before long, the criminals were able to find ministers in the system who could be corrupted due to a lack of firm intervention and “democratic accountability.” That was followed by death threats to police, lawyers, mayors, and other officials in the legal system as well as gangland murders of witnesses. At this point, they have most likely muscled their way into getting a cut of drug profits from some of the coffee shops also. Just a few months ago, the criminals graduated to murdering people outside of their cartels when they shot a Dutch lawyer to death outside his home. Thus, crime has now worsened after the Dutch were brainwashed into thinking that going easy on “soft drugs” would bring them closer to a utopia.
Playing with the narcotics industry with decriminalization and legalization is the equivalent to making a deal with the devil. He never plays fair and is never satisfied unless he rules the whole thing with evil intent. And since he is the driving force behind the sorcery, or pharmakeia, of the drug trade–whether it’s soft drugs or hard drugs–anyone who thinks they’ll be able to keep it within tight boundaries is deceiving themselves.
Associated Press, Is the Netherlands becoming a narco-state?, MNNAOFA.com, December 19, 2019.
Netherlands Bureau for Tourism and Congresses, Dutch Drug Policy, Holland.com, accessed December 19, 2019.
Renan Alejandro Salvador Lozano Cuervo, Drugs in The Netherlands: Is Holland becoming a ‘narco-state’?, DutchReview.com, February 22, 2018.