D66 starts discussion on the legalisation of drugs
The political party D66 wants to start an open discussion on the regulation of illegal drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, magic mushrooms and GHB. The party also wants to establish a State Commission to look into how Dutch drug policy can be modernised, the principle being to keep the health risks of drugs as low as possible and to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of society as a whole as much as possible.
Producing and selling drugs currently illegal
D66’s manifesto, drawn up in cooperation with addiction institution Jellinek and drug researcher Ton Nabben, has received support from several scientists, addiction experts, lawyers, criminologists, artists and (old) politicians. According to one of the initiators, D66 MP Vera Bergkamp, the intention of the manifest is to get the discussion on regulation going, as right now “It seems as though discussing alternative solutions is a taboo subject.”
At this moment in time, “use is not illegal, but the sale and production of drugs is,” Bergkamp said. D66 has been an advocate of a regulated drugs market for a long time now and, according to the party, the whole drugs discussion has once again flared up, especially since the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum, with the call for more repression and a harder approach growing ever louder. “We don’t believe in that approach”, says Bergkamp. We need to dare to consider alternatives, she feels.
She adds that a drug-free world is an illusion, people are always going to use drugs, but right now there is no other option than to buy them illegally. D66 believes that regulating drugs is better for public health and wants research to be done into which drugs can be produced, regulated and sold in a safe way.
Opposition from Christian parties
D66’s plans have not been met with widespread approval. In fact, they have been met with fierce resistance from the Christian coalition parties; the CDA and Christian Union are principally against drugs. Christian Union MP Stieneke van der Graaf doesn’t see the plans as a solution, “the Netherlands is the drugs shed of the world. 80 percent of the drugs made here is for export abroad and that won’t change if you legalise it. We shouldn’t reward criminal activity but punish it severely”.
It seems as though D66 if the only one in the coalition taking such a position on drugs at the moment. VVD has said that it will look at the regulation plans but has yet to take a stance. If a State Commission is to be established, this will likely be under the next Cabinet.