In case any of you were beginning to wonder how liberal the Netherlands really is, this thrilling story will surely restore your faith. Dutch political party D66 is pushing for an ecstasy store to open in Utrecht and nine other locations for a “better drug approach”.
No, you are not hallucinating and yes, you read that correctly. A store where ecstasy can be sold to the public is one of the party’s ten propositions for improving the control of drugs in the Netherlands, reports DUIC.
D66 councilor, Has Bakker, insists that the current approach to drugs is not working. “There has been a war on drugs for decades, with adverse effects,” he says. “More repression is not going to make the difference. It’s time to do things differently. All the small improvements in drug policy in recent years came from experiments and from pushing the boundaries of the law.”
The ecstasy store and other changes
The store in Utrecht would function as a local experiment, something like a cross between a pharmacy and a liquor store, but for the sale of ecstasy. “Controlled products are sold in limited quantities of use, you get good information and you cannot get in under the age of 18,” Bakker explained.
The party also hope to create facilities where you can test your drugs, including at festivals. They are pushing for the home cultivation of medicinal weed to be legalised, and for drive-through coffeeshops to be opened in the Utrecht area as well.
The party believe that implementing their proposals would disrupt the drug criminals’ earnings model, and in doing so reduce crime. “Take the wind of the sails of drug criminals and tackle their business model,” says Councilor Maarten Koning. “Start with regulating the least harmful drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy.”
Discussion and awareness
Members of D66 believe drug policy is simply not being discussed enough by the city council. “We want to stimulate the debate with this manifesto,” says Bakker. “The theme is far too important not to discuss. That is why one of our proposals is to set up a citizen forum, where residents, assisted by experts, will work out proposals for improvement.”
They believe that prevention through educating the public with good information is critical. “Sometimes young people come into contact with drugs, but we must not stigmatize and criminalize them,” says Koning. “We must invest in customization, and ensure good and accessible assistance. Really start a conversation with these young people, for example about the use of laughing gas.”
What do you think of D66’s approach to drug policies? Are they high as a kite or onto something? Tell us in the comments below.