Dutch mayors support legalisation of cannabis
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Dutch Minister Alexander Pechtold's radical suggestion to legalise cannabis in the Netherlands has been supported by the mayors of 20 out of 30 of the largest Dutch cities, including the mayors of Leeuwarden, Utrecht, Lelystad, Deventer, and Tilburg, according to an investigation by the Dutch newspaper Trouw. Pechtold promoted the legalisation of cannabis throughout Europe earlier this week. Pechtold's plans are opposed by Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner however, who is advocating a tougher policy against cannabis.
The possession, consumption, and selling of cannabis, claimed by some to be less harmful and less addictive than tobacco, though not strictly legal, has been tolerated in the Netherlands for a number of years. The cultivation of cannabis, however, still poses a problem to most cities. Utrecht Mayor Annie Brouwer noted fire risks, tensions with residential areas and the illegal tapping of electricity as reasons to get cannabis cultivation to the surface, so that it can be regulated. The mayors also argued that a successful test could show Europe the benefits of legalising cannabis.
A discussion on Dutch soft drug policy is to be held later today.