Nov 24, 2008
The Dutch have evolved a mostly workable but somewhat contradictory system for handling marijuana: While technically illegal, possession and sale of small amounts through regulated "coffee shops" have been tolerated since the mid-'70s. This has effectively separated the retail market for marijuana from more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin, but because marijuana cultivation remains banned, coffee shops have no legitimate source for their product.
A group of 30 Dutch mayors has now proposed the logical solution: a system of government-licensed marijuana cultivation. While the present conservative government of the Netherlands has moved to reduce the number of coffee shops, the mayors argue that such a move is likely to be counterproductive.