Netherlands to Close Prisons: Not Enough Criminals

May 26, 2009


For years prohibitionists, including our own Drug Enforcement Administration, have claimed — falsely — that the tolerant marijuana policies of the Netherlands have made that nation a nest of crime and drug abuse. They may have trouble wrapping their little brains around this:

The Dutch government is getting ready to close eight prisons because they don’t have enough criminals to fill them. Officials attribute the shortage of prisoners to a declining crime rate.

Just for fun, let’s compare the Netherlands to California. With a population of 16.6 million, the Dutch prison population is about 12,000. With its population of 36.7 million, California should have a bit more than double the Dutch prison population. California’s actual prison population is 171,000.

So, whose drug policies are keeping the streets safer?

154 responses to “Netherlands to Close Prisons: Not Enough Criminals”

  1. Very interesting info, Bruce! One more argument out the window. Not that the DEA had a leg to stand on in the first place.

  2. Drug criminals would lose a huge slice of their cash flow if ordinary Americans were permitted to grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, say $100 for an annual permit for 12 plants.

  3. I knew it. The stupid claim that decrim has somehow caused problems in the Netherlands really irritates me. Yes, the Netherlands has conservative jerks who like to create “moral” issues out of nothing just like we do here. They’d way rather bash pot smokers than discuss real issues, just like is done here with homosexuals. Yet, no matter how often the prohibitionists here talk about the Netherlands “problems” you’ll note that the Netherlands never really goes back to prohibition. I’m sure the people who staff those prisons wish they would though.

  4. This is beautiful news just for the reason Arnold (Gov of CA) wants a debate and he is wanting to base the talks around these other legal countries. So in turn this one thing is going to make an amazing positive for us when if finally gets decided on.

  5. Damn this is some real good information. Bruce you should talk about this next time you go on tv!!!
    Im tellin u man prohibition dosent work!

  6. Hey what do ya know! prohibition creates criminals! The bone haeds in washington don’t care as long as they keep thier power over Americans. If we repeal the 17th amendment, this would go alot faster. The problem is it would take 2/3rds the states and congress would have to “OK” it. PHH! You know they won’t vote to remove thier powers. Thats what its all about people, thier control over YOU! After all they wouldn’t be able to vote themselves nice raises all the time anymore. Keep up the pressure people, we’ll crack these NUTS.

  7. Just because the incarceration rate is lower does not mean the crime rate is lower. The Netherlands is notoriously soft on many forms of crime, and not just drugs (even violent crimes, like rape). It is the Dutch unwillingness to extensively jail dangerous criminals that is leading to their low incarceration rate, not a low crime rate. California’s higher ratio of prisons is only because America enforces its laws more effectively. Ultimately, this has little to do with drug policy.

  8. Ok… Those are ARREST RATES, not crime rates. Once again, I think its obvious to anyone that America has a more effective police force than most European countries. Using arrest/incarceration rates, I could argue that the incidence of spousal rape has skyrocketed in the past 100 years, when in reality the only increases have been in arrests and convictions. This is basically your argument for Holland’s lower crime rate. Comparing America, with its effective enforcement of many crimes (some more fair than others) with the Netherlands, whose police are far more corrupt and far less efficient is unfair. Once again, this has very little to do with the disparities in drug laws between the countries.

  9. @Rich,
    Are youserious? Do you honestly think the Dutch just don’t bother putting criminals in prison? Let me guess, you are a white, home schooled, right wing christian evangilist…. i bet i have at least 3 of those 4 correct.

  10. Remember this, the Netherlands is built up of all the same people. Its harder for a group of people to commit crimes against people just like them, then it is to commit crimes against people who arnt of the same background. If you look it up, Im willing to bet that the vast majority of the Netherlands are the same white, christian european. Now, if you take Cali, you will find Whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, all thrown in with each other. Race plays a factor in crime, if we like to admit it or not. Im not saying that one race commits more crimes then others, Im saying that when thrown in with each other, crime will be higher. Its just a sad fact. Also, not all crimes in Cali are drug related.

  11. the fact of the matter is that the penalties for possesing, using, and growing cannabis are grossly inappropriate in the US. charles lynch, 5 year min equal to rape. that is not acceptable. the US justice system has gone wrong and maybe even corrupt. i think big money interest groups have swayed the justice system to a system for hire.

  12. Lets hear from a Netherland citizen who is well informed and has first hand knowledge. Lets be careful not to believe the hype. Lets compare the statistics in all ways possiable, including breaking it down by race and age.

  13. Well what do you know, a real life debate about ‘our’ drug policies (I’m dutch).
    First of all, Michael, the dutch population is made of of just about any
    race you could ever imagine. If you look at the history, the dutch have always
    been global traders and as such we FOUNDED New York (yeah that’s right), went
    to North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia (did I leave any
    continent out? If so we most likely went there too). So claiming that the
    Netherlands is made up of white arian people is like denying the holocaust
    ever happened: history begs to differ. If you followed the global news you
    would see a trend in most European countries addressing the ‘immigration’
    problem, i.e. the problem that Europe isn’t nearly as white as most
    people want it to be.

    Addressing the arrest issue. Rich seriously, if you think our police force
    ‘are far more corrupt and far less efficient’ you need to look up some numbers.
    Without wanting to make you look like a moron, I just point to regular available
    statistics found on the internet.

    To give you a nudge in the right direction: it’s illegal to own guns here.
    How many serious criminal activity do YOU think is possible if you don’t have
    firearms? See how our death rate involving crime is significantly LOWER than
    let’s say, the USA? I’m not
    going to spell it out for you, but there is a connection… and don’t even get
    me started about corruption. Clearly you just made that up without looking up ANY
    statistics at all. If you followed the link, we score 9 out of 10, 10 being no
    corruption at all. The USA scores 7.2. CLEARLY we are a corrupt nation! Also we
    jail 1602 of every 100.000 people. America jails 5 of 100.000 people.
    Yeah we really HATE putting people into jails.

    To top it all off, let’s talk about legalizing drugs. Let’s call alcohol a drug.
    Because it is. Now how many alcohol related shootouts do you know off. You know
    some Hollywood scene where 2 parties meet in a backalley. One party has a suitcase
    full of money, the other has a suitcase full of beer. Then all hell breaks lose.
    How many times have you read about such a situation? Think about it, and you
    might understand why we, in the Netherlands, have nearly no drug related problems. Well except for drugs tourism but hey, at least it stimulates the economy. Because ‘soft’ drugs are legal, the step to ‘hard’ drugs is much more difficult: people don’t get in touch with the ‘criminal’ world, since they buy their ‘soft’ drugs in shops.Shops don’t want to push ‘hard’ drugs since they will lose a customer. So they’ll steer you away. Plus because teenagers have it wildly available, it’s not ‘that’ interesting anymore. It’s not forbidden, so it’s like doing anything new: you do it once or twice, you don’t understand what the fuzz is about, and you stop doing it. Hence the number of teenage addicts in our country is very low compared to the rest of the world. Everyone tries it, grows out of it, and then just abandons it. Anyway there are ample studies done that legalizing drugs is the best way to combat drugs, so why are we even arguing this?

    Obviously no one is going to read this, nor care, but I was here, I was bored so here are the views of one dutch citizen.

  14. hey rich..let me ask you something…did you know that a person that is growing pot in the state of West Virginia (a state where if your caught with ANY amount of pot, its a slap on the wrist fine and walk, also, under 15 grams is NOTHING, you get let go) but if your found growing it, YOUR GOING TO PRISON!…and your going to prison for 1-5 years…do you know who else gets 1-5 years in some states? People that go out and take babies and rape them, sodomism them, and kill them. How many years in prison do you thinnk a person should get for taking your son/daughter and making them even hurt a tiny bit? I know I would kill the SOB. and that wouldnt be good enough..but 1-5 years for that according to our “laws”? Give me a break…IM NOT A RAPIST or a MURDERER or even someone that gets arrested. IM a Pot head.

  15. Seems like all these “Activist Sites” are just a little slow, so from someone who doesn’t need poll data, here is the follow up of Sen. Cohen (TN) on Marijuana.

  16. The prohibition of cannabis has been the greatest civil rights violation since slavery. All because of a lie initiated by one man: Harry Anslinger and perpetuated over 75 years by people who followed him blindly.

  17. Bruce, is it? Here’s a tip for you. What is Circle Solutions, Inc. in McLean Va? Who in this company have veryvery very close ties to the Head of the ONDCP?

  18. To law enforcement officials, the current state of the Drug War is a total Paradise to them. Unlimited money and power to subject and persecute a certain population into Prison where they can rot and die. Hey, wait a damn minute!!! This is what Adolph Hitler did to the Jews. Welcome to Amerika’s Fourth Reight!!! Our Government decrees that you are it!!! Habenzie Papers?

  19. vetter, i refuse to believe we can’t turn this thing around and educate the public about cannabis facts. the public only knows the myths and lies spread by prohibition. i have to believe that once they see the truth, that cannabis has medicinal properties, and is virtually harmless when compared to tobacco and alcohol, they will help change the laws and end this tyranny against the american people. we are the people, thats what america is.

  20. Ok, you got me on one thing: I am white (just like I’m sure most people are who frequent this board). However, I am a slightly left centrist who voted for Obama, went to public school, and follow no organized religion (do believe in God, though). Also, I DO support legalizing marijuana, I just don’t think this particular tidbit is related to the drug war. To be honest, I don’t think the Dutch model is one to be emulated: all of their wholesale marijuana sales are controlled by organized crime. Transferring their system to America would be like having the violent cartels sell to the shops. Honestly, I can’t think of a worse way to legalize marijuana than the way the Dutch did.

  21. Finally some common sense. Did you know that America has 5% of the worlds population but 25% percent of the worlds population of incarcerated people?!?! This is not all due to marijuana prohibition but it shows we can improve. I am only 18 and I have been arrested twice for marijuana possession. Thank god MASS just decriminalized it to a 100$ Fine. We need other states to do the same thing

  22. as a relative of corrupt law enforcement officials in Georgia,I can tell you that they don’t want ganja made legal,because it will affect their income.Prohibition is all about money and power on all levels,That is why,we may never see pot legalized.I hope I am wrong,but 35 years ago,I was thinking “any time now”.Still waiting and hoping in 2009.Keep up the good work!

  23. this isn’t nazi germany, this is america. the police, the dea, the goverment work for us. we can change this thing around. look at the progress we’ve made.

  24. This is a power struggle between the people of the usa and its government. the government knows if they lose this fight, we will change everthing they do…or is it undo everything they have done to strip us of freedom? This is a war between us and them.

  25. “DarthNole: Let’s Vote this up to #1:

    *thumbs up*

    It is the most effective and realistic vote on there.

    “No one can try to defend cannabis being a schedule I substance without looking like a shmuck. The Obama administration (and in turn, the media) has to have their feet held to the fire and made to explain why they think cannabis has no medical value and is highly addictive.”

  26. Jeroen, you wrote: “Obviously no one is going to read this, nor care, but I was here, I was bored so here are the views of one dutch citizen”.

    Not true, I read every single word you wrote. Please do come here when you’re not bored, please do be a part of the discussion.

  27. Oh… but those poor Prison Guards whom will now be forced to find some other line of work! Are there any jobs out there, anything available?

    Maybe we should NOW relegalize and create some new employment and business opportunities!

    Stop putting people behind bars for non-violent crime! Unless of course you are stealing millions of dollars or defrauding people and government! In which case, incarcerate them indefinitely!

  28. Read the Nineth Amendent.
    Rights not enumerated can not be construed as being denied.

    I proclame for my fellow Americans and myself ….

    The inalienable right of the people to control the chemistry, mind altering or not, of our own body. The right to engage in the voluntary commerce and share of any substance.

  29. Just as prohibition of alcohol made the American mafias rich,
    the insane drug laws have made South American gangs rich.
    As a note of point, you can’t build a police state without an excuse.
    Just as Hitler used the war on criminal Jews to build a police state,
    America is using the war on drugs to build the police state.
    Many of the slogans used in the war on drugs are identical to statements made by Hitler about Jews.
    Do we really need 4 million Americans in prison? Dying of AIDS, TB, hepatitis, violence, old age? What any good Nazi would call “natural causes”.
    Have you heard of “Death by Delusional Paranoia”, when a person is shot by a cop, the first thing the county coroner does is test the blood, if it test positive for “banned substances” the autopsy is stopped and the coroner writes Death by Delusional Paranoia. No mention of bullet holes in the body is recorded.
    No investigation into the shooting is conducted because it is not a homicide, there are no records kept by any government agency including the FBI. Death by Delusional Paranoia means the person whose inalienable right to life was violated is off the books. The feds do not want us to know how many American have been murdered in the “War on Drugs” so they lie.

  30. Well in a reasonable debate let’s also look at the other end of the spectrum. Not every country is the same, and every country has a distinct cultural and historical moral atmosphere regarding pot. Japan has arguably the toughest pot policies, and also has barely any pot smokers. Now, keep in mind they also have one of the highest rates of suicide, but still it sort of worked for them. Although I rabidly support drug legalization, to have a decent argument focusing purely on the Netherlands and it’s success doesn’t mean we would have the same success stateside.

  31. kjgear:

    Thank you for the comment… It always just seems weird to me that we as activists continue to ask for something that the administration is clearly against… Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of legalization, it’s just that I think I’m a little more realistic when it comes to the politics of the subject. Obama took the time to comment on our request at his online town hall meeting (even if we didn’t like his tone) he at least didn’t ignore it. So why aren’t we pushing for some common sense. Let’s go ahead and follow the laws as they are written. If it doesn’t belong in Schedule I, then let’s get it moved.

    I just hope to hear the President stand up and explain to all of us how the Government can in one hand send medical marijuana out to a couple of US citizen every month, but on the other hand they say there are no medical uses. 13 states disagree and have ACCEPTED the use for medical treatment.

    These forums have shown to work to be able to get our message in front of the President. I just hope that more people will come to their senses and realize that our Government is totally contridicting itself when it comes to Medical Marijuana.

  32. C , Tell it to the Congress , yes they are the only ones who can repeal the Prohibition of Marijuana. Meanwhile organ transplants are denied to any deserving patient who dares have any metabolites of cannabis in their system , effectively sentencing them to death. I am a 50 year old Army Veteran who loves my country and it’s people. I am a legal Medical Cannabis Patient in California. (S.F. Bay Area)
    We can and will win , because people’s lives are being destroyed.
    I apologize that my whit is caustic at times. Over all I am hopeful. I get angry when I think of all the lies the people in control spout and for no good reason other than their greed and moral superiority, What kind of Moral Superiority is it that allows the sick and dying to suffer, and even be put in prison? These People are keeping segments of the underworld rich and harming US!!!! C, I lived in Augsburg Germany and went to Dachau Consentration Camp. Our officials are in danger, not from us citizens, but from the judgement from the Throne of Heaven. I know we have excellent leaders in Congress who are working to change this situation to a tolerable, sane, and humane one. I wish them success. I believe that I will be smoking a joint with Jesus before Marijuana becomes legal with restrictions as Alcohol and tobacco. If I am still alive at that time I will smoke some of the best Thai Bud that can be found. C, thanks for your optimism.

  33. vetter,
    thanks for serving this great country in our army. i my self served four years in the army.
    our country works on the principle that we elect a person to represent our votes. i believe that cannabis is now approaching a majority and our leaders better start reflecting that or they will be replaced. we have the internet now, a tool that your generation didn’t have. the lies and propaganda that they spread in the 80’s and 90’s are quickly being debunked and the american people are smart. they won’t stand for this corrupt machine to bleed them dry of their capital or their freedom. look at your freedom under prop215. a result from people like all of us and organizations like mpp that fight. i myself will keep calmly debate as many people as i can to side with us. best of luck vetter

  34. The representatives and elected officials in this country know very well that legalization works, They know the dutch policies work, We know it works….but in America, god forbid they would have to close down some prisons because of a declining crime rate. Our justice system has become nothing but a corporate industry….Land of the Free, Home of the Brave indeed.

  35. I was saddened to learn that the Dutch Coffee shop model is about to change to a club type model where only Dutch Citizens can pay to be a part of the Club, but none else. Well as a Medical Marijuana Patient in California, it is Basically the same way. As long as you have a Doctors recomendation you can gain entrance to the club. I went to Neimegan in Holland to take part in the 4 day walk. 25 miles a day ..In 7 and a half hours. I find the Dutch People to be very kind and peaceful and accepting of the differences of others!!! God bless the Dutch!!! Please forgive my misspelling of your fair city. I hope in the future that the dynamic of Legalized Marijuana will one day bring Millions of people from other countries to America to sample our freedom . But for now this is simply a dream for the future. I have got mine!!! Just like the Dutch have got Theirs!!! Now America it’s time to get your freedom!!! Politicians do you hear me!!! Soon the American People will be voting and then you will all get yours!!!!

  36. Robert Vetter, comment #48. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to research everything and probably missed this if it was in the links in the article above.

    Hope you read this comment and either explain or give a link to the Dutch Coffee shop model changing to a club type model where only Dutch Citizens can pay to be a part of the Club, but no one else.

    BTW: My husband served 22 years in the Navy.

  37. Lea, the place to find the article is at the Norml Daily Audio Stash. Entitled Netherland turn up noses at Marijuana Turism. It’s 30 shops in the south of Holland. A Pilot program to help curb the rampant drug tourism from all adjacent countries. Part of a prohibitionist wave from the current administration. But Amsterdam will be much the same for awhile, but for how long? God Bless your Husband and You, for enduring a very hard life in the Military. At the clubs in the Bay Area, you normally go in wait in line , go to the counter order and split. There are a few that you can medicate in, but they are the exception and not the rule, like the old speak easies of the 30’s and 40’s Complete with the chance of being raided , how is that for an E ticket ride? It will get better, and then we can write our books about how we survived this terrible time in our History!!!

  38. Thank you Robert.
    We went to Amsterdam in January of 2008. We did hear that the Dutch were besides themselves with certain tourists and the tourists attitudes.
    Guess this would be considered a pitiful side effect, an unnecessary one because it’s just as easy to be courteous and considerate as it is to be rude.

  39. Lea, I was talking to a friend of mine who lived in Amsterdam for 5 to 10 years, and she told me that the real problem were the brits that have been raised mostly on alcohol and when they mix the two there is nothing more obnoxious than a drunk on weed. Talk about no inhibitions, with the nastiness of someone who does not care about anyone but themselves. My Dad was a mean drunk and I guess he did me a favor in showing me what not to be like. We made peace before the end and I forgave him, so much that for whatever reason Heaven let him visit me in my dreams a couple of times since. I now look forward to seeing him. My sister has never forgiven him and gets no visits. Life is strange, but wonderful. Americans , like the french , have a reputation to live down abroad , but if we take a chance, sometimes people surprise us. Have a great day!!!

  40. This makes sense too. I live in Amsterdam so I see what’s going on here.
    With the laws here it’s easier for people with problems to go out and have fun. Whether it is in a party or a coffee shop or concert, there is a scene to go for most people.
    When people are out having fun, they do not have the time nor the will to go out and commit a crime that hurts someone in some form of physical, psychologically or financially.
    True there are drug around here. But not everyone in a party here like drugs, some just would never do something like that. Others have taken drugs in their lives, but one day decided that it was enough. From the group of people that do use drugs, the vast majority does not abuse it, and only takes some drugs for entertainment. They know their limits.
    However the people that are damaged to begin with are the likely ones to develop addictions and commit crimes if they can’t find comfort. If they do so, the Dutch do not like the idea of putting them in prison just like that.
    First of all, a detainee cost money.
    Secondly, the average convict comes out of prison more educated in crime, so is more likely to do something bad again.
    I see here more and more that people who commit a crime have to do community work for a x amount of hours. They are economically helpful, and they stay away from more problems thay can make them worse. Only if the person is a threat for others, then the has to be locked up for other peoples sake.

    In plants we trust…

  41. I would like to add one more thing.
    In the Netherlands we have controlled areas where prostitution is allowed (As long as there are no links with criminal organisations.)
    Many religious people don’t agree with this because of something that is written in their book.
    What their book does not mention how many innocent women and children are saved from sexual abuse because the sexually frustated have another option: Go to the prostitutes. Prostitutes are not innocent, they make their own choices.

  42. I knew it was the Brits Robert, was just too chicken in the moment to type it here. Thanks for pointing it out.
    We had a meeting with the police while we were in Amsterdam, and we got to meet a coffee shop / politician owner. The owner of the coffee shop was the one who shook his head and said the British were a problem. The police officer, IMO, seemed more tolerant of all the situations that could arise. He openly shared that he smokes pot when off duty too.

    If you read this Sander Postma, thanks for commenting here. Everything you said is true, now if we could just get our backwards politicians in the U.S. to understand this.

  43. I am dutch and I have seen first hand that the netherlands is a country that has it’s stuff together from socialized medicine to the tolerance of soft drugs. I think the United States should take a note or two from the flying dutchmen!

  44. Hey, Come on!! I am a “brit” and I have visited Amsterdam many times, I am always polite and well behaved if a little wasted (I tend not to mix too much alcohol with my weed.
    While there I have seen the rowdy stag parties which do seem to be of british origin, which is a little embarrassing to myself and other well behaved brits.
    Also the police in Hollland get to do real police work instead of chasing around smokers and growers who haven’t caused any one any harm except maybe themselves. People who do have hard drug problems are offered help more readily and quickly than here in the U.K.
    Before I go I would also like to point out that here in the U.K people who have genuine health problems and emergencies are dying while waiting for the emergency services who are too busy elsewhere in town patching up all the drunken people, Not stoners.
    Then there’s the prosecutions of smokers and growers through our courts that cost our already bankrupt system hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.
    I’m no scholar but it doesn’t make any sense to me.

  45. I agree with this policy, but does the reduced number of criminals simply reflect the fact that drug users are now NOT criminals? I would like to see an analysis of violent crime, or even better, non-drug related crime. If 80% of California criminals are in for petty drug crimes, then it seems that California’s prison population is not nearly as skewed.

  46. Controlling Drugs

    The great Prohibition era certainly should be lesson enough that prohibiting a thing only makes it more valuable and encourages crime to provide it. The main reason we have “drug crime” is prohibition of drugs. There is no control of the substance or distribution with prohibition. Drug cartel’s become the only distributer.

    Control of a substance is accomplished by licensed distributers. Alcohol [now] requires licensed bars and bartenders. Abuse of alcohol has legal consequences. Pesticides and poisons are sold through licensed distributers. Pharmacies are licensed for Rx Drugs, many of which are far more severe than ‘recreational drugs’. With licensing quality can be monitored and restrictions can be placed on who can be provided the item, how much etc. Control can also be placed on use, types of use ie: medicinal, recreational, etc.

    The hyped drug fear is terrorism [decisions made based on fear] to promote criminalization of drugs. We need to foster education to overcome this overreaction. Prohibition even prohibits hemp which would be a valuable crop for farmers, provides a natural resource for clothes, paper, packaging and many other uses.

    Some of these prohibited drugs like marijuana have proven medication use in cancer, PTSD, glaucoma, many other health problems. Licensing would make these valuable medications available to those needing them. States set their own law on use and distribution according to their view.

    I ask legislatures to sponsor elimination of prohibition type laws on drugs and write law to develop licensing mechanisms for all drugs including marijuana, LSD, opiates, all drugs. There have been many studies that this does not lead to a “gateway” for other use. Indeed as Netherlands has proven, it leads to reduction in crime and use of harsher drugs.

  47. Seems that drugs are being the excuse for all criminal activity and the imprisoned. There are other crimes to commit you know.
    I would bet the US has thousands upon thousands of more laws than the Netherlands, thus creating more criminals from simply dressing the wrong way to saying what you feel (remember free speech?).
    America loves to throw people in jail.
    Those who would be criminals will be so with or without drugs. Bums are bums and prosperous people prosper.

  48. Thank you for a very interesting article. The US would have less crime with a more intelligent drug policy, but the corporations who buy our Congress members don’t want that, they want to continue the prison industry, they’re making too much money. And their bribes matter a whole lot more to most Congress members than our votes, or the mere lives of human beings who suffer because of their disastrous policies. I hold little hope for things to get better here, the corporations are happy with things just as they are.

  49. You might want to note that America has recently banned flavoured cigarettes and with obamacare, all cigarrettes as well as many sugary products like soda may be regulated or prohibitted.

    Prostitution is another area of states prohibitting behaviour that should be ones own right as an adult.

    America is no longer the land of the free!


  50. The netherlands are know as a ‘melting pot’. So the ‘race’ argument is not working here. When i look at the numbers of drug related arrests and jail terms in america vs. the netherlands everyone can see that the liberal drug policy DOES work. this case is very similar in switzerland as well, which also has very liberal drug laws. When you would release all drug related prisoners from the U.S, about 80% would go home. But this is not gonna happen in the U.S for quite a while. the lobbyists will make sure this is not gonna happen in the near future. The pharma, nylon, cotton, paper and prison industry will not tolerate any form of legalization. there is multiple empty prisons here in the U.S for certain reasons. Although the legalization of marijuana itself could earn the government more than a 100 billion dollars per year, they prefer to fight the drug of war which costs itself 20 billion and more. the us government supports american farmers with more than 25 billion dollars annually which could be saved, by allowing them to grow a certain percentage of their fields (regenerating fields only), bought by the government thru the DEA or ATF and sold to licensed distributors. to keep the price stable at its momentarily value at least a tax of 25% should be considered which accumulates (i only considered 50% of U.S consumption) to more than 60 billion per year. And this is actually divided in half. I know i am talking against a wall, because something like this is not going to happen soon.

    When it gets approached correctly it is a trillion dollar business. paper, cars, fuel, plastic…

    There is no limitations.

  51. war on drugs i mean.

    when i would run a private prison i would not like to have any kind of drugs legalized either, where am i gonna get my slave labor from then i almost don’t have to pay anything.

    facility, manufacturing, training and prison gets paid by the government, so a private company can take the work load of their back. they got a billion dollar complex for free, full with slaves the have nothing to pay.

  52. i want to go there now! and stay…here in texas crime is everywhere with the young ones as they slowly learn about getting jobs

  53. I am Dutch and growing weed is just as illegal here as anywhere else. But the cops use a ‘see throught the fingers policy’ when it comes to small amounds of marijuna. It is legal to sell weed in a coffeeshop, but it is illegal to supply a coffeeshop. That’s where the problem lies….the supplying of coffeeshops is an illegal criminal business with a lot of violence. That’s how stupid our law is.

    About crime rate….a rapist walks free in Holland after 2 to 4 years or so. Even murder lets you walk out after let’s say 8 to 12 years.

    Also, we use a lot of other punishments, like criminals have to do community work. They stay out of jail, but still have been sentenced. So…Rich is probably right in his comments. You should also know that buying a weapon here is very difficult as they are forbidden and nowhere for sale.

  54. What i also want to comment is…our drug policy does work. Of all countries we have the least percentage of people who use it. It’s normal for most people to try it when they grow up….a lot of people smoke weed for a reasonable time. But whent they get older, get married , get kids etc they stop smoking weed 99 out of 100 times.

    But since Ireland voted yes for the new EU law, the liberal policy will be over.

  55. In response to Michael { 05.26.09 at 8:45 pm }

    Remember this, the Netherlands is built up of all the same people. Its harder for a group of people to commit crimes against people just like them, then it is to commit crimes against people who arnt of the same background. If you look it up, Im willing to bet that the vast majority of the Netherlands are the same white, christian european.

    Michael, if you are going to make a statement like that at least do a bit of research…Holland is an ex coloniser and trading country, therefore has probably the most mixed population in europe…i would advise you to try a bit of reading and travel. With your level of intelligence and education you should not post comments on blogs, you will only make yourself seem more stupid and more racist that you obviously are.
    what a bloody moron.

  56. and Rogier, are you blaming us irish now for the Lisbon Traty?
    Blame Bruxelles, they did not like the results first time ansd scared everyone who still has a job into voting again. We had the option of voting unlike most other countries so look a bit closer to home before blaming ireland for the loss of liberal policies, blame the big european countries.
    ps i lived in holland for 4 years and it is a fantastic country, not just for the obvious reasons…the only bit i did not like so much was the rude unfriendly dutch people, who by the way are becoming very right wing very fast…

  57. No no Paul..not blaming the Irish at all. I can’t read anywhere that i blamed you.

    They would’ve held as much referendums as needed until you lot said yes. Holland also said no, but we didn’t even get a 2nd vote.

    ps. 160 nationalities live in Amsterdam alone. And Amsterdam has only 1 million people.

  58. Although not dutch, I work in the netherlands occasionally, typically in Rotterdam. The Netherlands is a conservative country – quite a surprise given their drug laws. They have the lowest drug consumpton in europe. Its the sort of place where all the suburban gardens are neat and tidy.

    Last time I was there with some colleagues after a great Indonesian meal, my oil industry hosts asked if we wanted to go to a bar for a drink. We said that we would rather go to a cannabis cafe and score. None of our hosts smoked dope – but thought nothing of looking up an iphone to find out where we should go and took us there. It was no more unusual to them than needing an ATM machine.

    Its normal. Its not criminal. The cafe was a dump, but we got our blow. My business contacts do not think we are drug-crazed wierdo’s, but they DO know we won’t turn up at the office next day with a hangover.

    Great country. SANE country.

  59. FYI, the dutch arent ‘less effective’ — they’ve made the conscious decision to only put criminals that are a clear danger to society in prison. the rest pay fines or do house arrest.

    whereas america puts many many non-violent offenders behind bars and that ultimately hardens them into real threats when they finally get out.

  60. Sure it is lower, because all the drug addicts end up dead you happy idiot. OF course you forgot the Queen in the Netherlands saying a few years ago that Amsterdam was too unsafe to walk around after sundown. I wonder why she said that? Maybe you should walk down the street in South Central L.A., and see how long you survive just trying to buy some drugs if you are white.

    Most Dutch are very law abiding citizens and do not take drugs. And of course your stats never mention illegal alien crime and gang warfare and what about guns? There are no guns in The Netherlands. You think legal drugs will make gangsters in California put down their drugs? You need to up the dose on your medication.

  61. I always wonder why seldom politicians are not constantly forced to tell citizens why it is any business of the govt to say why pot and LSD used in a controlled environment …as in your own house are any more dangerous than any of a thousand legal drugs out there which the govt permits. AND As if the Govt actually gave a rats ass about anyone anyway really.

  62. I was in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) back in1989. I can tell you that the general population is well mannered and dressed. Healthy and smiling would describe the general population. No where did I see any “large box stores”. If you needed cheese you went to the cheese store, wine the wine shoppe and so on. The streets where clean as are the cities I visited. Grass and hash where cheap, good and plentiful in almost and coffee house or cafe. The two weeks I spent where some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever spent….. I almost hated to come back here.

  63. I honestly believe that if it isn’t broke, why fix it. Obviously the Netherlands have found a way to keep crime down and morality and humanity high. Not just High as in smoke either. Perhaps the rest of the world could learn a few things from these decent people and stop trying to knock them just because they allow marijuana use. There are many there who have never and will never try it, just like the rest of the world. They also have very beautiful landscapes, seascapes and cities as well as country sides. The rest of the world should stop and take notice of their declining crime rate and then look at their own. God Bless and take care of each other and yourselves.

  64. Jerome Dank u val 🙂 Robert please dont slag off the British, as Europeans we have lot in common with the people of Holland. More so than USA. Im sorry your Dad was a mean drunk. Thats not nice. But dont make assumptions on a few roudy Brits. or project your issues on us. Surely this is not the place for bitchin. Anyway Ive said my piece now Goodnight 🙂

  65. Very interesting thread with a lot of interesting input from various sources… As a travelling person currently in Switzerland but living for the past 20 years in South Africa, I have lived in London, Switzerland, Italy, Germany (none of these longer than 6 months) and plan on many more.

    It is unfortunate that the British youth (not all British) frighten the vast majority of tourist hotspots and give the old school image of “British Politeness” a bad knocking. When I lived in London I was scared to look the youth in the eyes. I’ve been stabbed and shot at in South Africa, but they wanted something, British kids often need no excuse to start something.
    According to British Foreign Office data, 16- to 20-year olds represent a third of all Britons visiting Greece (a popular tourist hotspot for all EU nationals), but account for more than 70 per cent of Britain’s annual 800-900 consular cases there. (from
    Theordoros Pakos, a senior police officer on Crete. “A lot of people here are really tired of the way drunken Englishmen comport themselves.” (
    And Cliff, do you think the Queen would feel safe walking anywhere?? She is an 83 year old woman bloody hell!! I wouldn’t want my granny walking alone in any big city after sunset!!!
    The Dutch are generally a very conservative society and well, I have great respect for them for managing to balance such an issue that clearly puts alot of fear into peoples minds (wether real or imagined) and well, government is meant to regulate NOT control.
    No price is to high for freedom, as Benjamin Franklin once said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” And what do we see happening now in the once great United States of America?

  66. Jeroen: I don’t know how many times I have to spell this out for people like you, but the lack of guns in your country has little to do with your crime rate, just as our having guns in the US has little to do with our crime rate. In almost every case, where there are guns, crime tends to be lower, not the opposite. In fact, when Australia banned guns, there was a boost *up* in crime, and the overall effect towards reducing crime was nill ( The plain fact is, an armed citizenry is the best thing.

    FYI: here in Chicago we recently had a death of an inner city student, and the idiots like Mayor Daily & the like don’t know how to handle it or who to blame because there was NO GUN involved – he was beaten to death with lumber. What will they do now, ban wood????

  67. If marijuana was legal then hemp would be legal.If hemp was legal there would be a manufacturing boom with hemp lumber,cements,food products,textiles,fuels,plastics etc. It would be a renewable very green crop every 90 days in some areas and would provide unlimited material resources that require little or no maintenence and very little to produce.Now…who makes all the afforementioned products but the scum of the earth and many are invested in the private prison industry.If marijuana were legal hemp would have to be also,and the sociopath parasite ruling class will not allow that.Case closed.Marijuana is a good excuse to keep the real earth freindly cash crop…why,someone might smoke it and the whole world would just go to hell ! Haha

  68. This is an interesting story.

    I suspect the reduced crime rate in the Netherlands is due more to the fact that it’s a highly socialist country, (much more so than in the USA) and when times are hard, Netherlanders have more options than turning to crime for food, clothing, and shelter.

    BTW: it would be nice if there was an “email this story to” option somewhere on this page..

  69. For those who’ve commented negatively regarding Dutch crime: Two years ago my lady and I stayed in Amsterdam for a week. We rented an apartment in a non-touristy neighborhood to get the flavor of genuine Dutch living. The landlord was an attractive twenty-something Irish ex-pat who required the rent be paid up front and in cash, some 700 euros. When I questioned her safety in holding that amount of currency alone in public, she actually laughed in my face. In fact, she said, “I ride my bicycle quite alone, all over Amsterdam every day at all hours including late night after bar visits. I’m perfectly safe!” If ANYONE would feel secure in having their good-looking wives-sisters-nieces-female friends out and about on a bicycle all alone at three am, ANYWHERE in the US, well, you haven’t been paying attention to life here. I wouldn’t even trust cops’ intentions regarding such a young lady. I’ll take the Dutch version any day.

  70. put people in jail for smoking pot is like put in jail people who smokes tobaco. now both are a long lethal drugs, that destroyed your brain, lungs, liver, tonsils and give you different kind of cancers.

  71. You know i am british and i very much love to smoke weed and find it hurtful that people would like to brand british people as the trouble makers in any soceity. Let us not forget that most of you people are actually of british descent. I know people who went to the dam and had trouble brought on them by some dutch lads,this is not because we are a bunch of thugs, its because the scum thought they had some easy pickings (they were wrong). Every soceity has their bad element but i can guarantee that our bad element are not the weed smokers who go to amsterdam to get high for a fews days and chill. I know i would rather live in england any day than live in an american soceity where everyone can have a gun and therefor go out and shoot someone who pisses them off!!!

    I know i have missed the point of this discussion but dont start attacking british people without looking back at your own people first..

    “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”

  72. Interesting…but in the USA there are more reasons for having more prisoners: It is cheap slave- labour and for the owners and operators of USA-prisons of which many are private corporations therefore a booming business! As the US-government itself is involved in the drug-business – the CIA was doing it (and of course the fact that they have to provide for themselves, and are not payed by federal taxes, so obviously they are making money big time in the drug business..hence the war in Afghanistan: To make sure the Bush-family do not loose their control of their share of the drugs produced there), now it seems NATO took over… all of this is all about money! Billions of US-dollars. One major reason to keep drugs illegal is that those involved in the illegal drug-trade (politicans, CIA etc.) make far more money this way! And of course it is one excuse to make prisoners. Which translates in cheap labour, which is big money for the American private owners of prisons!

    Also you will not have prisoners if you just tolerate all kinds of evil.

    Thirdly: The Dutch authorities had built far too many prisons only recently. It is bad planning on the part of the Netherlands government.

    Fourthly: The sentences are far too low. And many people who would normally be in prison now can sit at home, only restricted to their home, by a bracelet or device around their enkels that warns the prison authorities when they corss the boundary of their home. This was invented because there was until recently a shortage of prisons. So, as is usual of the Netherlands – government, after they have closed the prisons, it will not be long before they have a shortage again.

    Fifthly: Some Russian made a movie some years ago about a Russian who had heard of the terrific conditions in the Dutch prisons: That they were like hotels. So he tried to Dutch police to arrest him, by doing bad things. But the Dutch police were just too nice: They forgave him for being a foreigner who did not know any better; they were helpfull to show him the proper way of doing things, and so he did not get arrested. In the USA he would have been arrested many times over and imprisoned: It’s cheap labor, as I said. I would have liked to see that movie, but I do not know the titel and have no idea where to find it.

    By the way: I am from the Netherlands!

    @ Reality: I agree with your response to the Dutch-Jeroen about guncontrol! He is one who has been brainwashed about gun-control. It is a God-given human right to own and use guns and any weapon in self-defense. Anti-gun-laws do NOT prevent criminals from possessing and using them, but they dó forbid law-abiding decent citizens to defend themselevs against the criminals, especially a tyrannical government! Anti-gun laws serve tyrannical governments! This is the ONLY reason to fobid them. Look at history, One of the first things Hitler did when he came to power was to forbid guns! Other dictators did the same.

    I am appaled at the lack of professionality of the American police: Tasing an old lady, and a student!

    Watch this video: Unedited Dash Cam Footage of 72 year old Grandmother Being Tased

    DutchLionFrans (5 seconden geleden) – My comment:
    This is VERY UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR BY THE POLICE- even worse: of his sergeant who backs him up. I would have both put on non-active duty to investigate if these arrogant, unprofessional dictators (that are supposed and payed by the public to be servants of the public!) that police nowadays seem to have become, should be taken off of the force! To let a speeding charge, which is a minor -fellany if that, get so out of hand, is unprofessional and the public deserves to be kept free from such individuals. I would also check the whole precinct for lack of professionalism and for a public-hostile culture!

    Some more on this video: Video Released of Grandmother Being Tased for… speeding…

    DutchLionFrans (5 seconden geleden)
    To let a speeding charge get so out of hand is UNPROFESSIONAL! And the public deserves to kept free from such power-abusive, dictatorial unprofessional police who act as if they think they are God and should be treated as God! I would put both him and his seargent on non-active duty pending a thorough investigation into the professionalism of the force and the whole precint!
    DutchLionFrans (4 minuten geleden)
    If this is policy as the sergeant says, than it is time to investigate the public-unfriendly culture in the police force!

    Watch the video: University of Florida student Tasered at Kerry forum

    My comments: DutchLionFrans (8 seconden geleden) These police are absolutely NUTS! This is so incredibly unprofessional! The young man asked a legitimate question, and the dombo gorilla police who have cereals for brains apperently, tased the young man, laying on him 10 men strong (this is abolute POLICE-BRUTALITY!) ! The police should ALL BE ARRESTED and put out of the police force! WHAT IS ABOLUTELY ASTONISHING TO ME IS THE FACT THAT THE PUBLIC BEHAVED LIKE DUMM SLAVERISH SHEEP! Not one student came to the help! And the speakers: CRIMINALS!

    Rai: You are perfect material for the NWO- police State. These police here are absolutely NUTS! They have cereals for brains! The taser use is UNPROFESSIONAL…and cowardly of the unprofessional police – they sit on him – he is going nowehere and these criminal police tase the young men several times. They should be arrested for it and thrown out of the force!

  73. I’ve just spent a very pleasant three weeks in Holland visiting my cousins. Both male and female cousins think nothing of walking or bicycling from one end of Amsterdam to another late at night, by themselves. People feel completely safe. Concerns about crime boil down to “watch out for pickpockets.” Holland appears to be a thoroughly civilized, comfortable, prosperous, and tolerant place.

  74. This is exactly the opposite in England.
    Over in Holland you decriminalise many non -violent and silly laws.
    Where in England they make new laws to criminilise people as the Council and Government are to lazy to do the job , so just create more criminals by new petty laws to eliminate any opposition

  75. Bruce should be a poster boy for why we shouldn’t legalize dope in CA. His brain obviously needs a break from it. If there are no laws and everything has been legalized, of course there would be less criminals because you have less laws to enforce! Are you fucking brain dead. My 1st grader could have figured this one out.

  76. dutchlionfrans that was a very random and lengthy response. It is very important when attempting to make a point, that you don’t bore the reader. By the time I finished reading your response, I had forgotten what the topic was.

    The fact is, here in the U.S. we spend 20 billion dollars a year enforcing drug laws that do absolutely nothing to stop the production, distribution, or consumption of ANY DRUG (legal or illegal).

    Our prisons are filled with people who have been convicted of minor drug possession. We pay to find these people, we pay to prosecute these people, we pay to house and feed these people, and when they get out of prison and no one will give them a decent job because of their record, we pay them directly through welfare.

    The main problem is the way we catogorize drugs. In most states, heroine users are subject to the same punishment as marijuana users.

    Clearly the legalization of all drugs is not the answer. However, reclassifying drugs so that the punishment for a drug offense is relative to the ACTUAL damage that can be done to the society in which it occurs, would relieve much of the strain that has been put upon our prisons and legal system as a whole.

  77. I did not read all posts, but there are few comments posted that are completely wrong – I am Dutch, grew up there.
    One is that someone called the police force corrupt. Not more than in any other country, to be honest I haven’t run into one. And I had quite a few friends with the police. Would like a to see something to back up that the police force in NL is more corrupt than in the US, I would bet its more likely to be the other way around.
    Then the comment that the Dutch are all the same people, not really. There are many many people from all over the world, all races are there, NL used to have many colonies and used to be in the slave trade, we still have a few colonies and there are many many asylum seekers and workers from other area’s in this world in NL now. Its a very multi cultural country, its hard to find an all white area, village, school or classroom. I think the tolerance and letting others do their own thing has more to do with it than less different people.

  78. If all inmates are in for drug related charges, you would have a point. However, California has a tremendous gang problem & a fallible 3 strike law.
    US marijuana laws are ridiculous, to be sure, but this argument is Swiss cheesed.

  79. Not enough crminals, means not enough crime..which is plenty. The US has more crime because we have institutionalized racism, a war on plants, and Mr. Krypt. Where do these gangs get their money? The CIA, customs officials, and anyone else that allows it to cross the border. If we were to decriminalize drugs, our criminals wold also disappear. We too would close prisons..But there is too much money for the elitists to make fighting a winning war.

  80. Just as a corollary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS): “In 2008, over 7.3 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults.” So California is still doing way better than the country as a whole, as frightening as that may be.

    But here’s the concept: in the USA there is presently significant overcrowding in the existing prisons. As well, privatization of prisons is a growing practice nationwide. The three leading corporations in the private prison business in the U.S. are the Corrections Corporation of America, the GEO Group, and Cornell Companies. Such private companies comprise what has been termed the Prison-industrial complex.

    Rather than closing their prisons, Netherlands should contract with the USA to utilize them as private incarceration facilities for American convicts. Think of it as a non-wartime form of prisoner exchange. With our rate of crime and incarceration, it would be a sure source of steady income for the Dutch, and the inmates would likely stand a better chance of true “rehabilitation”…

  81. ummmm, dutch person here, Holland is NOT homogenous anymore, there are large groups of immigrants. So to the poster who made that claim a while back, you’re wrong!

  82. and while I’m at it, perhaps there are indeed less prisoners because they are “soft” on crime, which means that day to day life should – by your logic – be filled with violence by unpunished criminals. Not the case (other that a lot of bicycle theft). It’s an extremely safe country to live in. We are not quaking in our boots behind locked doors.

  83. he another dutchie here
    just as everyone before me pointed out .Holland has got a multitude off colours and races and i believe that there is less crime in Holland because a lot off people use the “soft drugs”to take the edge of their anger or bad mood.
    and the coffee shops are not run by criminals but mostly by the politicians ok some might say thats the same but slight difference.
    I believe that if america follows holland in anything it should be abolishing guns and after that legalizing marihuana because the easy acces to weapons is really what makes it so much easier to have criminals
    and marihuana is not addictive unlike alchohol or sigarrettes

  84. @James
    That was really offensive! I am “a white, home schooled, right wing christian evangilist” (which you spelled wrong, it is evangelist). So that makes it 3 out of 4 for me. I may not be so “right wing” but I am definitely conservative. I am also a Libertarian. I don’t agree with the choices many people make but at the same time I don’t believe it is the government’s place to tell anyone what they can or can not do. They need to get out of our bedrooms, personal lives, and wallets and stick to protecting National Security and Personal Rights.

  85. Too simplistic. I do agree in ending the drug war and decriminalizing pot, however the Netherlands does not have Mexico on it’s border for one. Plus California is a draw to potential criminals from all over the US. When someone from Texas is arrested in California, they are gonna do time there.
    And most of all, our politics creates a larger economical gap between the lower working classes and the upper working classes than in Europe which is a far more likely cause of the difference in prison populations.

  86. Very simplistic. The Netherlands is a small country that is highly educated with high employment. Contrast that to California with a large ethnic population that is undereducated but still desires the things they see the rich has. The only way they see of getting those things is to do illegal activities.

  87. I was on an art college trip to Amsterdam sometime in the mid nineteen-nineties. One of the kids on the trip got mugged at knifepoint for his wallet and wisely found a street cop, who called a squad car. They drove around until they found a guy who matched the description, and cuffed him to a railing. No wallet, but was carrying a knife.
    “I am sure that is the guy.” says the kid.
    “Not so hasty” reply the cops. “He’s one of our regulars, but there are a few others we should check out first, also.”
    They drove around for two more hours, leaving the suspect chained to the railing, checking out a few more regulars who fit the description. None of them were found with wallet nor knife and so they returned to find the guy sitting on the pavement, still chained to the railings; and they booked him for possession of a dangerous weapon.
    “Sorry we couldn’t get your wallet back.” says the cop to the kid. “No proof, we can’t do much. But the knife is illegal, so he will be in the cells tonight.”
    The cops drove the kid back to the hostel and advised him against straying off alone into dodgy parts of town in future.

  88. To: Jeroen { 05.27.09 at 1:19 am }
    Just wanted to say, I ‘re’posted your comment as a response to comments made on a ‘re’post of the blog…
    If only people researched before they spoke!

  89. I have been researching into Law recently.
    Since we live in a world with both law that we are expected to live within, and law enforcement agencies, I believe it is very well worth finding out exactly what the Law actually is.

    You have heard the expression ‘and the Truth shall set you free.”
    It certainly is a case of that. The difference that an education makes…

    Common Law is law of the Land. This is what is meant by the word ‘Lawful’.
    Admiralty Law is law of the Ship, which is basically what legislation is based on. It is corporate law. This is what is meant by the word ‘Legal’.

    Common Law applies to every flesh and blood living person.
    Legal or Statute Law only applies to members of the society who agree to abide by it. This includes governmental legislation.

    If you agree that your legal paperwork fiction, the strawman of your birth certificate and all other paperwork based on it, represents You, a flesh and blood living person “commonly known as (your name)”; then the court can pin whatever they can pin on you.

    However, if you are truthful from the start you will obviously deny that your flesh and blood is the same thing as a pile of paperwork. In fact you will question why the document that your legal fiction, the paperwork entity entitled MR (YOUR HEARSAY NAME) is based upon, this being your birth certificate, is assumed by the court to be a legal business contract, quite simply because it does not have your signature on it. Without which, the paperwork is legally void.
    The court and police will try to trick you by using the legalese term ‘understand’. It does not mean comprehend; it means ‘stand under’ which is the same thing as ‘agree to abide by.’ So never, never ‘understand’ anything. You are not obliged to by any Law. If you do, you are screwed.

    By Common Law, that applies to everybody, a flesh and blood living being has inalienable rights. Corporations do not have inalienable rights. The government and police are corporate entities and do not have as much rights as you do, unless you give your rights away. Do you understand?

    This is where it becomes relevant to the topic at hand;
    There is no common law prohibiting drugs, nor prostitution. Therefore they are lawful activities. Yes that is the crucial thing to know about, so important that I will repeat it again; There is no common law prohibiting drugs, nor prostitution. Therefore they are lawful activities.

    However, there is Statute law prohibiting these activities. Statute law is legislation. But we have already agreed that we are not lawfully a part of the legal society, because we are Lawful abiding people who are honest enough not to be tricked into lying about our real identity.

    What this means is that in all Commonwealth countries (nations where Common Law applies, and where Statute Law is made up to take away your inalienable rights), there is no crime if you are growing, making, dealing, drugs. There is no crime because by Common law, there is no injured party, and there is no business contract that has been broken by any party; the only business contract is unlawful because you have not signed it.

    That is the LAW that the police are sworn to uphold. FACT..

    What happened in the Netherlands is that the socially minded government put the people before their own wallets, and so they made the legislation follow closely with Common Law. This is because they are more honest than equivalent governments who prefer to con people by using dehumanised legal laws and trick people out of their inalienable rights.
    With respect to drugs and prostitution, it means that the government can monitor both activities, and the education about these activities is better than in equivalent nations where they are suppressed.

    The consequence of this is that crime figures speak for themselves.
    It works.

  90. ^ that’s the bottom line.
    please check out FMOTL.COM for more information about Common Law and how knowing the law works in your favor. I have no affiliation with FMOTL website nor its creators other than to think it is brilliant and advertise it widely. All I am doing by this, is teaching the Law that we all should respect.

  91. “Prohibitionism doesn’t work” It depends on the desired result. If it is to reduce crime and provide value to citizens, then of course it doesn’t work, but if (as it is) the aim is to increase the power, resources and wealth concentration available to politicians and their cronies, then it works beautifully (like war, for example).

  92. Jeroen (19) said “obviously no one is going to read this” but I did and what he says about making soft drugs legal destroying the attraction of the forbidden and also that selling soft drugs in shops would tend to keep people from coming up against hard drugs because they doen’t come in contact with the criminal element and shop keepers doen’t want them to, makes perfect sense (along with the other points and information he offers.

  93. I have been living for one year in Holland, Den Haag ( The Hague), I came yesterday to Gran Canaria (Spain) to stay for the winter, and I can say 2 things, First, I have never feel so secure in any other country, and Second, Holland is an invention of Dutch people so they learned how to make bussines and the are extremely clever, so is not surprising that one day they close completely all prisons.

    I love Netherlands for sure, and dutch people know what is living with quality, except for the food, hehe, eating in netherlands is horrible.

  94. someone needs to tell this to the canadian conservative gov’t that has just budgeted for 9 billion worth of new jails despite declining crime rates :S
    too bad we have the US as our big brother neighbour to follow in the footsteps of – grr.

  95. This looks slightly like comparing apples and oranges. I wonder what the number is for those incarcerated in California’s prisons for drug-related crimes ONLY. How does that number compare with Holland’s narcotics prisoners (are there any?). Otherwise, issues such as robbery, murder/violent crimes, gun control, drunk driving, etc. are pulled in and muddy your central argument. Either way, I’ll wager you’re right about this…but let’s see realistic numbers, please.

  96. Crime rates in Holland have been falling steadily over the past years. Also, many prisons had been constructed in the past decade. So those two together lead to a lower prison occupation.

    If you look for instance at homicides crime rates are indeed low in the Netherlands:

    In short the amount of homocides per 100,000 inh.:
    Singapore: 0.38
    Norway: 0.72
    Netherlands: 0.92
    Denmark: 1.01
    UK: 1.49
    France: 1.60
    Finland: 2.17 (has a liberal gun law similar to that in the US)
    Romania: 2.51
    India: 2.82
    US: 5.4
    Thailand: 7.92
    Mexico: 14
    Brazil: 25.2
    South Africa: 37
    Venezuela: 73.

    If you look at the list it is not difficult to say that, when looking at serious crimes like murders, The Netherlands has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

    Legalising drugs has certainly proved effective but the understanding that more (police) violence and tougher punishments does not necessarily lead to less crime is probably at least as important.

    The lack of poverty and the egalitarian division of wealth (similar to Scandinavia) certainly helps a lot.
    There is an understanding that the longer you keep people in prison and the more you put people in prison even for mild criminal acts, the harder it is to re-integrate them into society and the more they learn from fellow inmates about crime. This certainly happens in countries with high crime rates and very long punishments like the US.

    Here many perpetrators of minor crimes get social punishments, which means they have to do a task in society (cleaning or something like that). These help them to contribute rather than just wasting time and tax money in prison. It has proven to be effective.

    Punishing people feels ‘just’ but the reality is that the question what happens when people get out of prison is just as important. That long prison sentences fuck you up and make it more likely you’ll be on the criminal path after coming out is of course no surprise.

  97. We all know the US economy is screwed beyond belief and if something doesn’t change relatively soon it’ll be more than just screwed for a very long time to come. Everyone whines, complains, protests or just all out bitches when there’s a new stimulus plan trying to get approved (which for most people haven’t worked.), because all these plans cost a lot of money and put the country farther into debt. If they would seriously do something about all the illegals in this country that would give a lot more jobs, and couple that with ending this pathetic “war on drugs that only manages to drain billions of dollars we would be in so much better of a position. End the “war on drugs” and use that money to give every legal US citizen 1 million dollars tax free and see how quickly the US economy stabilizes and hey guess what then the jobs will come back. How many family farms in this country would manage to stay in business and finally be able to be profitable again if they were allowed to grow weed. Everything in the USA has to be bigger. Bigger cars, bigger farms, bigger stores, bigger everything….and where has that gotten us?
    Years ago Microsoft was fined because of an anti-trust lawsuit because they included Internet Explorer in with Windows, yet you could chose not to use it/remove it. Where was the lawsuits against Wal-Mart when they started putting stores every 5-10 miles away from each other and forcing many smaller retailers out of business and causing many people to become jobless.
    How many people do you hear of that smoked a joint and then went and killed people in a car accident compared to how many people you hear about getting drunk and driving. Just yesterday a man who had gotten too drunk to drive had an unlicensed, untrained teenager drive the car with his eight year old in the car with them. To no surprise they got into an accident and the eight year old died. They man got 6 months in jail (probably 2 months if that) and 5 years probation, while that teenager has to live the rest of his life knowing he killed someone because of a situation he never should have been up in. That’s preferable to people being able to stay home and smoke a joint with the worse consequence being they get the munchies how? I don’t even smoke weed (tried it several times in the past) and even I think it should be legal.

  98. maybe the USA goverment and press and citizens should look more at there disgusting law about guns instead of putting there nose into other people law .Keep on smoking the dutch way instead of shooting yourselve and others like hmm 1 example colombines HYPOCRITES

  99. too much prisons built in the netherlands? the ‘elite’ expected more resistance? the sheeple is even more stupid than they thought? or more oppressed&demoralized adapting to the absolutism of consensus (polderkolder)? the netherlands is in essence a prison for dehumanized feminized homophile milksops? the experimental garden for U$A-UN worldhegemoney? in stead of freedom&love civilzing safety&behaviour? by the way, the dutch hire prisons to belgium now 😉

  100. While marijuana is progressively being decriminalized state by state, hopeful that we might one day see our country free pot related offenses, hemp on the other hand, is still illegal to grow, allowing Canada to dominate what should be a cash crop for US farmers. Hemp activists tried to distance themselves from the marijuana issue, thinking the stigma would hurt their progress. The opposite turned out to be true, so now we need to reunite and consolidate our legal efforts to cross the finish line together.

  101. As a Brazilian citizen living in Sao Paulo, I’m as envious as I could be reading such news. I’m sure light drugs prohibition just push up crime rates and interests only those who make their fortunes out of organised crime: politicians and drug lords. Not to mention that drug business brings along other crimes as weapons and human trafficking (to say a few). I wish my society could be less hypocrite and try “bold” approaches just like the Neetherlands does.

  102. This is a very interesting article, unfortunately in the USA we aren’t well informed on happenings and the workings of the rest of the world unless we actively pursue it ourselves. That, or it is brought to our attention, such as how many people knew where Afghanistan was until recently in the US?

    I need to make note, in reference to the legalization of marijuana since it appears here quite often, a few items for thought.

    We often fight for legalization by stating the medical value of the drug in question. This has the opposite effect, there are many other options out there with the effects of marijuana. Marinol (dronabinol) is a schedule 3 drug that is THC. It is still controlled, but a C3. This also promotes research into chemicals with similar actions as marijuana, but more receptor specific, resulting in only the desired medical effects and less of the “enjoyed” effects.

    Legalization would not have a huge effect on providing jobs as yes, it would be a new product on the market, but the decriminalization would put many officers, investigators, prison guards, and other jobs associated with these areas out of a job. Other areas being like cooks at prisons, pharmacy staff there, so on. Actually, it wouldn’t even be a new product, as it would just bring the distribution to a noticable level. People wouldn’t have to hide to do their job.

    Another point on the healthcare aspect, nothing out there can be distributed and claimed to be used for any condition, etc. without rigorous testing and following the national drug process which takes many years. This is an expensive process that companies have to justify as worthwhile and profitable and takes many years. The drug also needs to actually have scientific objective proof backing the claim to be approved. That means we need to prove why something works. As some research has been done, it may speed the process, but it would need to all be gathered together and used. Until then, it can be distributed as a dietary aid, but not a medically useful drug.

    I would like to state, yet this is just a subjective observance, that in our government, the officials would much rather prohibit nicotine rather than legalize weed when the debate of harm is brought up. This is the same with alcohol. The difference between the legal drugs stated here and weed is that they caught weed before it was a highly used substance for a sustantial amount of time. To prohibit nicotine and alcohol would cause too much backfire from the public, and would cause more harm than good. This can be objectionalized by the large amounts of regulations and taxations coming from the government on the legal drugs. Weed won’t be legalized in the state this country is in, we are instead feeling the effect of Newton’s second law. Every action has an equal reaction. The more we push, the more we give them reasons to regulate us even more in other areas.

    With this being stated, there is no amount of reasoning that will make weed legal. No matter how many reasons we give to make it legal, we are just giving them ideas on how to get around legalizing it, thus making our stand weaker and weaker.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for legalization, it just won’t happen by attempting to rationalize it to the govt. You can’t outrationalize a system based on logic. This is a battle that needs to be beat by numbers, not reasons. No matter what we say, in the end all we mean is “we like it!” Until this is legalized, there is another chemical out there that is legal and has the same effects as weed, minus the munchies. I won’t state it here, as I don’t really want it to be illegal one day, but it is out there….

  103. These comparisons don’t work properly.

    First, we don’t have the same kind of culture as they. Americans experience far more stress in comparison, and the handling of drugs, etc., along with preventive and more reasonable treatment systems is far more effective. Canada has similar places that help create a safe zone for drug users, as well as therapy and rehabilitation, although not as institutionalized, I think. Legalizing such drugs doesn’t solve problems if there aren’t efficient measures being taken to deal with the consequences, and in America, preventive measures in drugs and treatment of addicts is where we’ve consistently failed with flying colors.

    Not that I’m against di hot fyah, but mi think di yute aren’t stable enough to handle it.

  104. 12,000 criminals aren’t enough criminals in the Netherlands!?? Have the Dutch lost their common sense! Europe has the gall and the audacity do say the USA has intelligence failure!! The Dutch have enough criminals to keep their prisons open!! What are they thinking over there?! Europe has no room to talk about America and Americans!! Excuse me! If Europe hadn’t started this whole mess with getting into people business and being so freakin nosy in the first place America wouldn’t be America today so I don’t really want to hear anymore complaining from Europe about “The West” or “Western Ideals.” The planet wouldn’t be where it is today had Europe not caused the 116 years wars so I really don’t want to hear Europe complaining anymore about the Americans. They have no room to talk and no right to judge anyone. Europeans were the ones who decided they wanted to judge and search others without permission. Had King George III been a reasonable and decent human being America wouldn’t have needed to exist in the first place so knock it off Europeans. We won the Revolutionary War against the British fair and square, so get over it already. For those who are still upset that we won the war against the British Empire, I say grow up and get over it already because it’s been long enough holding grudges okay. We won the Revolutionary war so be mature about it and grow up already!! Everybody just stop the blaming already and fix the problems on the planet instead of complaining and blaming all of the time. Does anybody notice how people sound when they are blaming and complaining. Nobody wants to hear your hemming and hawing. Grow up and deal with your problems instead of projecting them onto the West. Please for the sake of the planet, be mature and grow up.

  105. OK…but are you jumping to conclusions?

    You assume “criminals” all equate to drug offenses? Where does this article, or the Dutch information tell us this? Isn’t the word “criminals” all encompassing, to include murderers and rapists and extortionists and drug users, etc.? Need some clarification here.

  106. Marijuana causes mental illness. It makes people hear voices. People who smoke have less houses, vacation, relationships, money, education, than people who don’t. They help the needy less, because they are staring at their belly buttons listening to crappy music. There is more to life than this condiment. The Dutch have legalized sexual slavery. People trafficked from Bosnia, Russia, etc to be raped by dumb stoners. These people are your sisters. What are you doing for global warming? How are you helping Obama? You give your life to a plant. ooh ooh, when I grow up I want to be an idiot! What are you doing to stop slavery?

  107. If I may, I’d like to point out a largely ignored historic link between Holland & America. Regarding the ‘famous’ pilgrims of Plymouth Rock…….yes , they did flee Britain seeking the freedom to practice their faith without fear of persecution by the Church of England. And , they found it , …….in Holland. But what they also found was across the board freedom of religion for all , and they weren’t about to tolerate this , being convinced they had the only truth there ever was. So, they headed for the ‘new world’, where the competition was minimal ; comprised only of ‘savages’ they could convert or abuse at will………and the rest is ….well , you know….

  108. Total crimes per capita is 80.0645 per 1,000 people in the USA.
    It’s 79.5779 per 1,000 people in the Netherlands.

    So just because the Netherlands does not have enough criminals to fill their prisons with doesn’t mean they have less crime. Taking these statistics into account… it can be safe to say it only means the Netherlands fails at punishing/catching those that commit crimes. Or the Dutch are just smarter at not getting caught.

    But don’t take my word for it… More

  109. Guess what…

    Drug offences:
    12,683 per 100,000 people in the Netherlands.
    560.1 per 100,000 people in the United States.

    So there are more drug offences per capita in the Netherlands and yet the United States has more prisoners per capita.

    I guess that statistic alone drops this entire article on it’s ass.

  110. Don’t get me wrong from these posts I’ve made. I support legalization of ALL drugs. If someone wants to fry their brain, let em. So long as my taxes don’t go to paying for their medical treatment after they OD. Or cause themselves to have l…ong term health problems caused by using them. But just because the Netherlands has a lack of prisoners to fill it’s prisons doesn’t mean that legalizing drugs will lower crime. The Dutch have just as much crime as America does. But so far the U.S. still understands what justice is a bit better then they do.

  111. I think the way to go about smokin’ your weed is to do it the way you always have been…illegally! Forget about tryin’ to make it legal. Just forget about it. Taxing weed? So you already know how much weed costs depending on type and weight,right? The black market is almost entirely universal in the states. The prices only vary in areas where the demand is high and the supply is low (non-port cities). So now you’re telling me that it’s ok for the government to regulate the distribution and growth of weed when so many have been put in jail for enjoying and making a living from it? Forget that it’s wrong for the priciple of the matter,but that those prices which you have come to agree are fair (or you just settle for) WILL go up. You’re tellin’ me that the government is now gonna be our weed dealer (hypothetically)? Maybe some of you don’t get that customs get paid off to let things slide.Everyone gets paid off. As long as people want drugs they will be here. So what’s stopping you from going down the street and buying some,Mr.police officer? Are you going to let yourself be put in a cage for smoking weed? Or are you going to take the passive approach and just not smoke for fear of being thrown in jail? What else are you afraid to be thrown in jail for? Are you going to stop doing those things (I don’t mean murder or anything like that)? What if a curfew were put into effect and you could be arrested for stepping out in front of your house at night? Are you going to let that happen? What else do you let happen? There are consequences for actions.I believe that the consequences of INACTION are far worse when we are considering the dissolving state of our personal freedom.

  112. The US Criminal Justice system is a sham and so too is the supposed “War on Drugs.” The prisons are now privately owned in America and go out enforcing petty crimes to employ new slave wage labor.

  113. shocking comparisson just because if u look at the us’s judicial system it is corupt as fuck and it likes to throw ppl into jail as its the only way its companys can get cheeper labour than in therd world countrys. A large number of judges actualy take monetry payments to make sure that enough ppl are in the prissions to fill the orders.

    in summery america is fucked and shouldnt have been used as a comparison on jail populaions as because of the reasons stated its going to be higher obiously.

    maby portugal would have been a better option to compair.

  114. Just playing devil’s advocate…but the netherlands also doesn’t have central america right below it. I’m not saying that legalizing marijuana wouldn’t benefit the economy and lower crime rates, but I’m sure if the netherlands had countries like mexico and columbia right below it, things would be a whole lot different.

  115. has anyone ever thought that the goverment gets a cut of profits off those ganglords… in the form of bribes and stuff… probably mafialords are paying the goverment to prohibit.

  116. I’d like to add, Enrique Galan, that paying 10 bucks for a gram, or whatever Is EXTREMELY Pricey, if you know the profit margin for one weed plant, it costs about 10 bucks to plant + 5 bucks of chemicals or so, and you can make about 2000$ minimum with 1 plant. Now Imagine a field of 10 000 plants… I’d rather pay more to the goverment than fund criminal activities such as human slavery, coke selling, so they can buy more guns..

  117. I’m not sponsoring criminal activities.Where I’m at it is grown locally and by the way,what the hell are you talkin about human slavery? That may be a problem in holland and europe or w/e but it’s not as far as I know a regular occurance in the caribbean where less and less of the weed I get my hands on comes from.Like I said it’s more local nowadays. And where I am human trafficking doesn’t occur.Oh yea,where are you gonna put your “field” of tens of thousands of plants,by the way? If you’re paying the government those taxes you speak of the value of weed would have gone down making the marijuana business almost the same as any other agricultural enterprise.Let me tell you something,farming is hard work for a meager profit.So then,would be marijuana farming.It makes money now BECAUSE it’s illegal.Go ahead and pay your taxes to a hypocritical government,I know I’ll still get my shit from the guy down the street with the best fucking chronic or kush my warm city has to offer.And Mojoes,who is THEY? Are you retarted or just stupid? Let me tell you something,the 70’s and 80’s are over.Pablo Escobár is dead.What crime organization is threatening your life with firearms? Anyone can get guns and you don’t need drug money to do it.Besides,there are a million other ways to assasinate people do you think guns are that important? Are you gonna be one of a group of 60 people to get shot execution style in front of a firing squad during some hypothetical genocide? No. If “criminals” want to kill each other,let them.Are you a criminal? Do you have beef with the Méndez family? So.what are you worried about? You live an almost non-existent life in the eyes of “they.” So quit being a scaredy cat-conformist and visit your local weed dealer,tell him ” Thank you for being a part of the fabric of American independent small-business” and go get stoned.

  118. Shana Tovah to all my compadres!!
    First of all my hat goes to Jeroen from the Netherlands. I like your approach from the perspective of a Dutch citizen. Although, I have never done drugs, had a beer, or had a strong alcoholic beverage. I can understand the social and cultural need for some type of “soft” and legal form of recreation, more accurately a stress reliever. I think the point for some is whether it is something that is to be seen as a moral issue, as in the belief that the body is the temple of the spirit. As a teacher, I am fully aware that at least 20 % of teachers are smoking marijuana and/or have their happy hour drinks on a regular basis. Having worked in the educational system for over twenty years, believe me it is the best thing they can do to keep their sanity. But no matter how we approach this issue of soft drugs, it is to an extent an indication of how we allow ourselves and other to live life. It always works better for those who make the laws and those who are in the upper echelons of society. But for those who are in need of real representation, the issue is not just about liberties, but about the way an individual or a segment of society wishes to experience life. I hope to never do drugs, soft or hard, but I can see that some individuals in society need an outlet that neither society, religion, family, or circumstances are able to provide. Do we not have Presidents in our country that came from an age of soft and hard drugs? Let’s not forget, that there is a vast number of individuals who have had the college experience in regards to drugs and sex. Are they all dysfunctional in society?
    Jeroen sorry your team lost. But in liberties and the possibilities of allowing individuals to live life to the fullest, your country is right there at the top. My only concern is that your liberties will some day come back and bite you in the derrière.

  119. I followed the link to the DEA page and found it odd that they liked to mention a slew of “studies” yet fained to produce a single reference for any of these so-called “studies.” Also did anyone happen to notice that none of these studies were more recent than 2000-01? A lot can change in a decade, why are we expected to rely on outdated information?

  120. I only read the top 1/8 of the page, but it was still a half an hour. I have only two things here: I wonder if and how Sharia Law plays into this due to the rate of immigration into the netherlands in the past three decades; and two: I agree that marijuana should be legalized and not criminalized.

  121. There is no way I would/could read all of this, but what I want to respond to is Jeroen’s info coming to us all as a Dutchman.

    I’m American, here in Holland, and dude is RIGHT about everything he said.

    There are so many different kinds of Dutch here. It is a melting pot.

    Not only that, but the police here make less money than just about anyone else and they are highly disrespected. They are treated so badly by just about anyone. I can’t imagine a less corrupt police force!

    That’s it. All I had to say.

  122. I fully support the decriminalization/regulation/legalization of marijuana but I have to bring up this point…

    if there are no laws, there are no criminals, but evil still exists

  123. ********Try Portugal

    ALL drugs decriminalized since 2001, including harddrugs.

    Guess what?

    Crime rates way down – users way down – usage under minors down.

    The only reason it is illegal in the U.S. (e.g.) is because the money that is being made by it by intelligence for blackop funding and research PLUS it is illegal to be used as a control tool of the populace. They do not want to solve the drug problem, but rather sustain it.


  124. Hmm I am highly doubting that the Dutch have a huge gang problem as well. Maybe it is just me but I have a hard time imagining a Dutchmen saying “shit son I am from the mean streets of Netherlands!” So I do not think that any change to the drug laws would really make that large of a difference in the prison population of the grand old state of Cali. Plus I am not very concerned about a stoned Dutchmen, but a stoned celebrity on their i-pad while driving down the streets makes me pee a little. Or really anyone from California for that matter. After 12 countries, 4 continents, and about 40 something states California dominated the demographic of idiocy. I do not believe that weed will help bring down that number anytime in the near future. Castration, maybe…

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