Monday, 23 November 2009

Harsher Cannabis Laws Means Higher User Rates

As the debate rages on about cannabis, we learn once again that tough drug laws have no effect on consumption rates. The latest report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction shows that The Netherland’s recent cannabis use is just 5.4% whilst the European average is 6.8%. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada come in at over 8%. The world average is 3.9%. I’m not sure why they don’t have exact percentages for Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. According to the 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, Australia’s recent use was 9.1% which many feel is understated. Asking the public to admit to drug use while the Howard government was busy spending $millions trying to convince us that dope smokers are losers and are being targeted for arrest might have something to do with it. The 2008 official figures for the US is from SAMHSA and has recent use(12-65) at 10.3%.

These figures again raise the question ... why are some politicians pushing for harsher cannabis laws?

Note: Recent use refers to the previous 12 months.

Dutch Among Lowest Cannabis Users In Europe
November 2009

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands' well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday. Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures.

A higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France took cannabis last year, the EU agency said, with the highest being Italy at 14.6 percent. Usage in Italy used to be among the lowest at below 10 percent a decade ago.

Countries with the lowest usage rates, according to the Lisbon-based agency, were Romania, Malta, Greece and Bulgaria.

Cannabis use in Europe rose steadily during the 90s and earlier this decade, but has recently stabilised and is beginning to show signs of decline, the agency said, owing to several national campaigns to curb and treat use of the drug.

"Data from general population and school surveys point to a stabilising or even decreasing situation," the report said.

The policy on soft drugs in the Netherlands, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows for the sale of marijuana at "coffee shops", which the Dutch have allowed to operate for decades, and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

Nearly a fifth of the 228 coffee shops in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, a popular draw for tourists, are scheduled to be shut down because they are too close to schools.

The full report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction is available at

1 comment:

Sam said...

I wish the same could be said about electronic cigarettes