Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Are you looking at the same country as I am?

Iain Duncan Smith's speech is rather good, except for one small hiccough. When talking about drugs in general, IDS concentrates on cannabis.
"Kids on the street think that it [cannabis] is not even illegal... The real drugs policy we've seen in Sweden and other countries, like Holland. They make it illegal—yes, it is—and they have penalties and they are imposed—yes, they are."

Erm, cannabis is illegal in Holland? Really?

UPDATE: I don't think so, sunshine. Corrected by Neil Harding: the shame of it. My bad, however, I was wrong and he is right; apparently cannabis is not legal. But it's not illegal either.

The Englishman points me to Wikipedia's entry on the Netherlands' drugs policy and, fuck me, but it's a mess. The law should always be clear: either something is illegal or it is not; otherwise, it makes it very difficult for people to know whether they are breaking the law or not.

The Dutch attitude is apparently this.
The Dutch drug policy is based on the general principle of self-determination in matters of the body. Specifically, that it is not illegal to hurt yourself; however, you remain liable for the consequences of your actions. Because of this, users are not prosecuted for possession of small quantities of soft drugs ("for personal use").

But this is, in itself, insane. If you believe in self-determination of the body then why limit the amount of drugs that people are allowed to carry? We not let people deal drugs to those who want them (as long as they are not forcing those drugs on people)?

It's a mess, frankly.

8 comments:

Neil Harding said...

Actually it is. IDS is right on this one. It has been 'decriminilised' but it is still illegal.

The Englishman said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_the_Netherlands
means I'm agreeing with Neil Harding and not you for once, I think I need a lie down

Mark Wadsworth said...

It is a fine distinction, but in summary IDS was daft to pick Holland ('The Netherlands', actually). There are so many other countries he could have chosen.

Chuck Unsworth said...

And what did you think of the rest of the speech, then? Any other errors or omissions?

anthonynorth said...

A clever move by IDS. By using Holland, and knowing many are unaware of the actual reality, he, and the issue, are being focused on.
Who's a puppet master, then?

The Nameless One said...

Well, I am currently in Holland, and judging by my thick head, general lethargy and ravenous apetite it makes no difference whether dope is illegal or decriminalised here - it is very readily available. There are far, far, far better examples IDS could have used...

Fophillips said...

Should someone tell him that Holland isn't a country?

Matthew said...

Is it possible that this not legal but not illegal policy is designed to allow the Netherlands to abide by UN Treaties on drugs and yet have them semi-legal?