Thursday, May 01, 2008

Free hash in Holland - and some fun consequences

I heard this story from a Dutch friend, and I'm sure a) he's completely wrong and b) I've misunderstood everything he said. We must have been drunk both of us. With that in mind, here's the story as I recall it....

It's legal to use hash in Holland. It's also legal for the "coffee shops" to sell it. We all know that.

But of course it's illegal for the coffee shops to purchase it. And as an utterly natural consequence it's illegal to grow it. Of course. Makes sense.

And yet - despite this state of things - the Dutch haven't quite managed to push the hash thing out of the gangsters' hands :-)).

So the gangsters are now growing hash in apartments, on boats, and other places.

They use artificial lights, of course. And carbon filters so it doesn't smell. They circumvent the normal electricity circuit in order to avoid detection. They force weak people to front this kind of activity, of course.

So the Dutch Police are of COURSE trying to find all these places that illegally grow the hash which can be sold legally in the coffee shops. They even use IR (infrared) devices to detect lofts and other places where the heat/lighting raise the temperature of the growth rooms. In response, the gangsters are of course insulating the rooms.

It's all very green and sustainable, I think. And lofts and bad apartments, maybe even boats? - get insulation, which saves energy. It rocks.

The Police has of course out-sourced the removal of illegal growth places that they detect. A private company is called upon, and they'll arrive shortly afterwards and remove the plants, the equipment, and what have you.

This, I think, is brilliant. The private removal company now has an interest in people creating these illegal places, of course. Just like the folks that bred rats in New York in the 1890's because they could get a bounty per rat tail they turned in - because New York City wanted to get rid of all the rats in the city, of course.

As I started out saying: I must have misheard most of this and misunderstood the rest. Even Frederic Forsyth couldn't dream this one up.



Blogger Gary Myers said...

I lived in Adelaide, South Australia for a while, where you get the seemingly odd occurrance of tattoo parlours and hydroponic shops next to each other. The hydroponic shops mostly sell to people growing their own hash plants indoors, which is a similar customer base for people wanting tattoos.
An interesting variant on the old 'beer and nappies' example

4:11 PM  
Blogger Carel-Jan said...

Just some details from an article that came out today(in Dutch:

Coffee shop owners pay income tax to a total of EUR 400 million per year. There is no VAT charged for hash (Nederwiet).
Turnover in Nederwiet is appr. EUR 2 billion.
Per day on average 15 illegal 'nurseries' get closed by the police and their 'helpers'.
This doen't seem to influence the market.
Nederwiet is the 3rd agricultural export product after cucumber and tomato.

The most important human right they forgot to write down is: Everyone has the right to make his or her own mistakes.

There is an obligation connected to that right, though: You should learn from the mistakes you made!

You're free to learn from mistakes made by others, however, if you insist to make your own, you have the right to do so.

Apparently, some forget the obligation and do not even learn from their own mistakes, they repeat them! At least in the US they should know better: prohibition doesn't work. I do not say that drugs are harmless. However, you simply cannot stop it. IMHO, Criminalizing drugs does more harm than letting it go.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it IS illegal, it's just officially tolerated (a dutch contradiction). What's not tolerated is to carry more than a certain amount of the product (but a coffee shop will not be searched - I guess private property is private property).

I was told the story of a particularly bastard cop who (probably having just been kicked out by his wife or girlfriend) decided to arrest an employee of a coffee shop as he unloaded the supplies from his car. I believe that the judge later dismissed the case (or gave him a token warning - no penalty, though).

Another interesting contradiction is that with the new smoking laws in the Netherlands, it's illegal to smoke tobacco in public, but not weed. Logically, it's also then illegal to mix your weed with tobacco... in reality, coffee shops turn a blind eye, but they provide herbal filler should wish prefer. And most pubs which follow the new smoking laws would also frown on customers smoking joints indoors, even if it's legal.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Moans Nogood said...

Yes, it's that see/no-see combination that a) makes things work even though it's not possible to make it work via official/political channels - but also the way to NOT remove gangsters from the business.

Wherever there's illegality there's gangsters, gangs, and related crimes that can supplement their incomes.

I am in the Republic of Georgia at the moment, visiting friends with the EUMM (EU Monitoring Mission), and one of them have worked a lot in Afghanistan and told me the following last night:

Hash in itself may not (he was certain, I'm not) create dependance in itself. However, when a hash-user is offered some really strong/powerful/fantastic stuff called Black Libanon (or such) it turns out that it is has mixed with opium oil, which creates dependance immediately.

So that may be why those hash users that "move to the really good stuff" may find themselves in bigger trouble than they thought...

To me it proves that if you want to legalize something, make sure it's controlled and taxed by state authorities with wide powers. That way you can get it out of gangsters' hands.


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It's legal to use hash in Holland. It's also legal for the "coffee shops" to sell it

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