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Old August 8th, 2004, 10:59
sysadmin sysadmin is offline
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The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy:Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco

[American Journal of Public Health] There is a trend among Western democracies toward liberalization of cannabis laws. (Cannabis includes both marijuana and hashish.) In 1976, the Netherlands adopted de facto decriminalization. Under Dutch law, possession remains a crime, but the national policy of the Ministry of Justice is to not enforce that law. After 1980, a system of “coffee shops” evolved in which the purchase of small quantities of cannabis by adults was informally tolerated and was then formally permitted in shops that were licensed. During the 1990s, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Italy shifted their drug policies in the Dutch direction. Portugal decriminalized cannabis in 2001, and England similarly reclassified cannabis in 2004. Canada and New Zealand are currently considering cannabis decriminalization. These shifts constitute the first steps away from the dominant drug policy paradigm advocated by the United States, which is punishment based prohibition.

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Am J Public Health. 2004;94:836–842
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