Dutch Public Split on Cannabis Legalization

Some 50% of the population think cannabis should be fully legalised while 25% want a complete ban, according to the latest Maurice de Hond opinion poll.

The Netherlands has a policy of turning a blind eye to the possession of up to five grammes of marijuana for personal use. The drug can be bought in small quantities from cafes known as coffee shops which operate under local government licence.

Supporters of the left wing green party Groenlinks are most in favour of legalisation (88%), while half the supporters of the two governing Christian parties CDA and ChristenUnie want soft drugs made illegal and all coffee shops closed down.

Some 62% of the people who took part in the poll say they have never taken cannabis. Most smokers can be found among supporters of the Socialist Party (11%) and anti-Islam PVV (7%). CDA supporters are the least likely to have smoked cannabis – 83% say they have never tried the drug.

On Wednesday the Telegraaf reported that the CDA will publish plans on Thursday to further crack down on cannabis cafes and illegal production, said to be worth €2bn a year.

MPs will debate the government’s drugs policy on Thursday evening.

– Article from Dutch News on February 4, 2010.