Dutch Consider Listing Strong Pot in Same Category as Heroin, Cocaine

By Dirk Hanson 06/27/11

High-THC pot under suspicion in The Netherlands.

Stricter laws for stronger cannabis?
Photo via zoklet

We’ve all heard of hard drugs. But “hard” marijuana? The Netherlands, famous for its “soft” drug policy, consisting of controlled consumption of cannabis products in designated coffee shops, has recently signaled its intention to kick foreigners out of the marijuana shops next year. Now comes a report that the new conservative Dutch government wants to designate marijuana and hashish with a THC content above 15% as a hard drug, comparable to heroin and cocaine, because of an alleged increase in addictive potential. So-called “skunk” bud has also been widely and controversially implicated in episodes of schizophrenia. The move comes as the Dutch work their way through the initial term of the country’s most conservative government in decades. Health Minister Edith Schippers said she had been “very worried for years about the THC concentration.” She said that the “addictive consequences are much stronger and severe. Clearly this is a worrying development.”

When pressed, Schippers admitted that “the THC concentration fluctuates widely so the 15 percent level is not common.” Law Professor Dirk Korf of the University of Amsterdam told Reuters: “In Europe you can see both liberalization and a more restrictive policy. It will depend on the country and which phase it is in.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]