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The Third Way: A Plea for a Balanced Cannabis Policy

ISBN13: 9789004293182
Published: July 2015
Publisher: Brill Nijhoff
Country of Publication: The Netherlands
Format: Hardback
Price: £109.00

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What is sensible when it comes to developing and implementing a policy with regard to products which in the case of regular use are harmful, but which at the same time exert a strong attraction, even so strong that people (may) become dependent on or addicted to them? This question relates to many illicit drugs, but these days it is, both nationally and internationally, mainly related to the policy regarding the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis. Generally speaking, the legalization of cannabis in Uruguay and in some states of the United States of America, in particular Colorado and Washington State, has given a powerful impetus to the discussion about the cannabis policy. In the Netherlands, that discussion has become increasingly relevant over the past years because of the struggle of coffeeshop owners and political parties.

This volume offers the first English-language analysis of the situation in the Netherlands in order to make a contribution to the international debate on this heated topic. Since the 1960s, the Dutch cannabis policy has been an important point of reference in the international discussion about the policy that should be pursued regarding the use of cannabis. However, in international and foreign literature about cannabis policy the developments in the Netherlands are often depicted in an incomplete or one-sided manner, which has a negative impact on the quality of the international debate about what has happened and what should happen now. This volume seeks to redress that imbalance.

1. General introduction: a way out of the deadlock
1.1. The subject of this discourse
1.2. A framework of basic concepts
1.3. The structure of this book
2. The United Nations and cannabis policy
2.1. Introduction
2.2. The Conventions of 1912, 1925, 1931 and 1936
2.3. The Conventions of 1961 and 1968
2.4. The current debate within the United Nations
2.5. Conclusion
3. Cannabis policy in the Americas
3.1. Introduction
3.2. The Prohibition Era in the United States, 1919-1933
3.3. The American legalization debate in the 1980s
3.4. The legalization of cannabis in the Americas
3.5. Conclusion
4. Cannabis policy in the European Union
4.1. Introduction
4.2. The origin of the pursued policy
4.3. The Schengen Agreement and drug policy
4.4. The present drug policy of the European Union
4.5. Policy developments in the member states
4.6. Conclusion
5. The Dutch cannabis policy
5.1. Introduction
5.2. The naive starting point in the 1970s and 1980s
5.3. The approbation of the Treaty against the smuggling of drugs
5.4. The reconsideration of the policy in 1996 and 2004
5.5. The development, organization and functioning of the illicit cannabis cultivation
5.6. The cannabis problem and the problem of the coffeeshops
5.7. The tolerated sale and use of cannabis around 2010
5.8. The proposals of the Van de Donk Commission
5.9. Conclusion
6. General conclusion: towards a Third Way
6.1. The reformulation of the question
6.2. A preliminary matter: the reconsideration of the drug treaties
6.3. The regulation of alcohol and tobacco: a good example?
6.4. The legalization of cannabis in the European Union: the American way?
6.5. The regulation of cannabis in the European Union: a proposal for discussion