Soft drug policy reform needed: Labour

The PvdA in the Senate does not agree with Minister Ivo Opstelten's strict soft drugs policy, and will not cooperate on it. Senator Ter Horst wants the Minister to choose one region to test his idea of regulating and certifying marijuana cultivation for coffeeshops, an idea that the Minister has been against in favor of tackling criminality and nuisance instead.

Ter Horst believes that the cultivation of soft drugs is getting far out of hand, with its underworld and upper world no longer distinguishable. She does not believe the Minister's new law will improve this.

Within the year, the Senator wants Minister Opstelten to point to one region in which to experiment with regulated and certified marijuana cultivation for coffeeshops. The overall cultivation of marijuana would then have to be supervised strictly.

Minister Opstelten does not believe in such an experiment. His proposal would see stricter guidelines for the policy around soft drugs in The Netherlands. His proposal will be discussed in The Senate after the Summer.

The PvdA, with their emphasis on regulation of cultivation, is receiving a lot of support, including the Minister's party VVD.

Onno Hoes, of the VVD, has in the past been against the legalization of marijuana cultuvation, but has now changed his mind saying that regulation will enable the organization of demand and the tackling of criminality, he tells Nieuwsuur.

His argument adds that Minister Opstelten's idea would necessitate the government and the municipalities to close their eyes to what is happening at the back door. Legalizing that back door allows for a clearer view on the production, and in turn the criminals will stand out.

Senator Ter Horst also wonders how Minister Opstelten thinks about his plan, ethically. "it can't be that one person, Minister or not, lets more and more people be driven into the arms of criminal networks? The Minister can't have that on his conscience can he?" the Senator told Nieuwsuur.