Governing party recruiting celebs to push ecstasy, soft drug legalization: Report
Coalition party D66 wants to legalize soft drugs and ecstasy in order to reduce health risk and drug crime. The party is approaching Dutch celebrities to support a national drug manifesto it is working on, newspaper AD reports based on a message D66 leader Rob Jetten sent to crime journalist Peter R. de Vries, actress Anna Drijver, and criminal lawyer Gerard Spong, among others.
The current drug policy is failing and "no longer tenable", according to the D66. "We have to face the reality: people use drugs in the Netherlands. It is important that we not label these people as criminals, but focus on providing information", Jetten said in the message. "In the manifesto we opt for a regulated drug market, such as regulation of ecstasy. Only in this way can we minimize health risks and tackle drug crime."
The party hopes that getting celebrities to sign the manifesto will increase support among the general public.
Supporters believe that legalization will remove drug traffickers from the chain of supply, relieving the judicial authorities. But Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security is dead-set against it. He believes that legalization will make drugs common in the Netherlands, turn the country into the rubbish bin of the world, and increase drug crime, according to the newspaper. Grapperhaus recently announced a special anti-drug unit to tackle undermining drug crime harder.
The D66 seems to be the only supporter of legalization in the Rutte III coalition. ChristenUnie State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health recently announced a ban on the recreational use of laughing gas. This ban was immediately supported by the CDA, and immediately opposed by the D66 who saw no solution in "forbidding or criminalizing".
The government's stance against legalization and regulation can also be seen in the regulated cannabis experiment. Mayors in the Netherlands have been calling for this experiment for years, and for years it was blocked by the then VVD Justice Ministers Ivo Opstelten and Ard van der Steur. The Rutte III government finally agreed to an experiment in its coalition agreement in 2017, but it still has not started yet.