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Amsterdam to lead pro-cannabis protests

Protesters in more than 250 cities in the world, including Paris, Berlin and Madrid, will take part in Saturday’s global marches, or had already done so last weekend, as part of the 10th annual Global Marijuana March.
The Hague — People in favour of the legalisation of marijuana will protest in Amsterdam and other world capitals on Saturday, Dutch organisers said.

“Prohibiting cannabis has undesirable effects: it promotes trafficking, criminality, a black market economy and a poor quality product,” Jacqueline Woerlee, a spokeswoman for the Association for the Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition, told AFP.

Protesters in more than 250 cities in the world, including Paris, Berlin and Madrid, will take part in Saturday’s global marches, or had already done so last weekend, as part of the 10th annual Global Marijuana March.

unjust law is no law at allThe aim, said Woerlee, was to push for the full legalisation of the soft drug, from production right through to final sale.

She cited Dutch law on the topic as hypocritical for allowing the consumption and possession of less than five grammes of cannabis, but prohibiting its cultivation and mass retail.

Some 700 coffee shops country-wide have special licences to sell marijuana but are allowed to keep no more than 500 grammes on site.

Cannabis cultivation in the Netherlands is still criminalised.

Woerlee said Saturday’s picket in Amsterdam would be in “defence of the culture of tolerance to soft drugs,” which activists believe is under threat from a hardening government stance in the Netherlands.

Several Dutch municipalities have announced plans to close all or part of the coffee shops in their borders, partly to discourage crime and what they describe as the nuisance of drug tourism.

“Coffee shops are regarded as establishments that encourage crime. In fact, they serve a very important social function,” said Woerlee.

“They are not only there for the tourists. People of different cultures meet and communicate there.”

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