US embassy cable - 00THEHAGUE1957

DUTCH PARLIAMENT FOR LEGALIZED SOFT DRUG DELIVERIES TO COFFEESHOPS

Identifier: 00THEHAGUE1957
Wikileaks: View 00THEHAGUE1957 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy The Hague
Created: 2000-06-28 15:05:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: SNAR KCRM NL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS THE HAGUE 001957 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
STATE FOR INL, INL/T, EUR/UBI, EUR/ERA 
ONDCP FOR AGRESTI 
DEA FOR OFE/LORINO AND DANIELS 
DOJ FOR OIA/FRIEDMAN 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR, KCRM, NL 
SUBJECT:  DUTCH PARLIAMENT FOR LEGALIZED SOFT DRUG 
DELIVERIES TO COFFEESHOPS 
 
 
REF: THE HAGUE 1370 
 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
1.  ON JUNE 27, A MAJORITY OF THE SECOND CHAMBER OF THE 
DUTCH PARLIAMENT ADOPTED A LABOR PARTY (PVDA) 
RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE GON TO LEGALIZE THE SUPPLY OF 
DUTCH-GROWN CANNABIS ("NEDERWIET") TO COFFEESHOPS. 
DUTCH JUSTICE MINISTER KORTHALS REJECTED THE PROPOSAL. 
HE WANTS TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE WITH THE CABINET ON JUNE 
30. 
 
 
LEGALIZED SOFT DRUG DELIVERIES TO COFFEESHOPS 
--------------------------------------------- 
2.  BY A ONE-VOTE MAJORITY (73:72), THE SECOND CHAMBER 
OF THE DUTCH PARLIAMENT ADOPTED A RESOLUTION REQUESTING 
THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT TO LEGALIZE THE SUPPLY OF DUTCH- 
GROWN CANNABIS ("NEDERWIET") TO COFFEESHOPS.  THE 
RESOLUTION, DRAFTED BY THE GOVERNMENT COALITION PARTY 
OF PVDA, WAS SUPPORTED BY COALITION PARTNER D66, AND 
OPPOSITION PARTIES OF GREENLEFT AND SOCIALISTS.  THIRD 
COALITION PARTY VVD, AND CHRISTIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES 
OPPOSED. 
 
 
3.  THE RESOLUTION ASKS THE GOVERNMENT TO DRAW UP NEW 
GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC PROSECUTORS OUTLINING THE STRICT 
CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE CONTROLLED CULTIVATION OF 
"NEDERWIET" AND THE CONTROLLED DELIVERY OF "NEDERWIET" 
TO COFFEESHOPS WOULD BE "TOLERATED."  UNDER THE 
PROPOSAL, PRODUCTION OF AND TRADE IN SOFT DRUGS WOULD 
REMAIN ILLEGAL. 
 
 
4.  THE LEFT-OF-CENTER PARTIES BELIEVE THAT THE 
RESOLUTION, IF CARRIED OUT, WOULD BRING AN END TO THE 
CONTROVERSIAL AND HYPOCRITICAL SITUATION OF 
"TOLERATING" FRONT-DOOR SALES OF SOFT DRUGS IN 
COFFEESHOPS, WHILE PROSECUTING BACK-DOOR DELIVERIES. 
 
 
 
 
JUSTICE MINISTER AGAINST PROPOSAL 
--------------------------------- 
5.  DUTCH JUSTICE MINISTER KORTHALS REJECTED THE 
RESOLUTION.  HE WANTS TO RAISE THE ISSUE IN A MEETING 
OF THE FULL CABINET ON JUNE 30.  ACCORDING TO KORTHALS, 
THE PROPOSAL WOULD VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND 
ENCOURAGE DRUG "TOURISM."  MOREOVER, ACCORDING TO 
KORTHALS, IT WOULD BE PARADOXICAL TO ALLOW THE DELIVERY 
OF NEDERWIET BUT BAN MOROCCAN HASHISH. 
 
 
6.  IN A RECENT REPORT ON DUTCH SOFT DRUG POLICY, 
KORTHALS ALSO CONFIRMED THAT THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT HAS 
NO INTENTION OF CHANGING ITS SOFT DRUG POLICY (REFTEL). 
KORTHALS REACTED TO PLEAS BY SOME 20 DUTCH MAYORS TO 
ALLOW EXPERIMENTS WITH CONTROLLED CULTIVATION OF AND 
TRADE IN DUTCH-GROWN CANNABIS.  THE MAYORS HAD ARGUED 
THAT CURRENT SOFT DRUG POLICY IS UNCLEAR AND HAS 
UNDESIRABLE SIDE-EFFECTS, SUCH AS INCREASED PUBLIC 
NUISANCE AND CRIME.  THEY FELT THAT CONTROLLED 
CULTIVATION AND TRADE IN NEDERWIET WOULD LEAD TO MORE 
TRANSPARENCY, PUSH CRIMINALS OUT OF THE MARKET, AND 
PROTECT USERS' HEALTH THROUGH PRODUCT QUALITY CONTROL. 
 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
7.  IT IS VERY DOUBTFUL THAT KORTHALS WILL IMPLEMENT 
THE RESOLUTION.  HE FINDS MUCH SUPPORT WITHIN THE 
GOVERNMENT, PARTICULARLY FROM PM KOK, WHO DOES NOT WANT 
TO DAMAGE FOREIGN RELATIONS.  THE TIMING IS BAD. FRANCE 
WILL TAKE OVER EU PRESIDENCY AS OF JULY 1.  THE FRENCH 
HAVE ALWAYS PUT GREAT PRESSURE ON THE NETHERLANDS TO 
SHARPEN ITS SOFT DRUG POLICY.  THEY WILL CERTAINLY 
OPPOSE THE PARLIAMENTARY RESOLUTION. 
 
 
8.  ON THE OTHER HAND, DOMESTIC PRESSURE WILL INCREASE. 
THE RECENT SOFT DRUG REPORT NOTES A SIGNIFICANT 
INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL OUTLETS FOR CANNABIS 
SALE (I.E. NON-COFFEESHOPS), AND IN THE NUMBER OF 
ILLEGAL CANNABIS GROWERS.  THE REPORT OBSERVED THAT, IN 
SOME CITIES, A LARGE PART OF HOME CULTIVATION IS IN THE 
HANDS OF CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS, WHICH PUT PRESSURE ON 
PEOPLE TO MAKE THEIR PROPERTY AVAILABLE FOR ILLEGAL 
CULTIVATION.  SEEMINGLY, MORE AND MORE LOCAL 
AUTHORITIES WANT TO SOLVE THE DRUG PROBLEMS IN THEIR 
CITIES BY DECRIMINALIZING SOFT DRUGS. 
TOKOLA 

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