The Pragmatic Drug Policy Of The Netherlands

3121 words - 12 pages

The Successful Application of the Pragmatic Policy in the NetherlandsEssay by Dan GrigorinThe legal system of the Netherlands is world renowned for its unique policies. The epitome of the legal system in the Netherlands is the Opium Act, the first one of which, created in 1919, resulted from the participation of the Netherlands in the Opium Convention in 1912. Although somewhat revised in 1928, not much had been amended from the very first Opium Act. In 1976, the act was amended to be the version that is currently enforced. It distinguished between hard and soft drugs, giving a risk scale, which consisted of categories regarding medical, pharmacological, psychological, and sociological data. Using this, the Opium Act distinguished drugs with unacceptable risks.The Opium Act had many provisions in relation to drug trafficking. It clearly outlined all illegal activities in relation to trafficking, such as money laundering and confiscation of illegal assets. The Abuse of Chemical Substances Act of March 1995 allowed monitoring of any drug trade and confiscation of any illegal substances. Many other laws have been created and implemented since then in relation to health and welfare of drug users and possession of drugs.The guidelines issued by the Office of the Public Prosecutor in 1996 state that arresting and criminalising users possessing small quantities of any drug for personal use is not looked upon as a priority according to the Dutch drug policy. Many other laws in relation to drug use have been enacted since then, such as the Collective Prevention and Public Health Act; Primary Education Act, Basic Education Act for Secondary Education, the Care Institutions Quality Act, and the Act on the Distribution of Medicines. In 2001, a new law, Penal Care Facility for Addicts Law, enabled the courts to put any intravenous drug users with a history of crime into intensive treatment at special institutions. All of laws led to the pragmatic drug solution in the Netherlands, a solution which believes that problems that have proven to be unsolvable should not hopelessly try to be solved and receive mixed results but rather controlled and receive positive results.Although many may doubt pragmatic solutions as unnecessarily permissive, Dutch economist Frederick van der Ploeg claims that it is precisely pragmatic solutions that can solve a successful country's problems. In a 1997 lunchtime meeting to discuss more liberal drug solutions in the United Kingdom, Frederick van der Ploeg argued for the realistic solution of the Netherlands."The difference between an idealistic approach and a pragmatic approach is that an idealistic one is one we wish for, but a pragmatic one is one that works. An idealistic goal with a pragmatic approach is the successful way to run a country." - Frederick van der PloegWhile some people may consider the legal policy in the Netherlands to be excessively lenient, the pragmatic policy has been proven not only to be practical but...

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