The societal turmoil is widespread in the western societies, and the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is a clear example of that.
Known for its pot-selling ‘coffee-shops’ and the ‘liberal’ Red-Light district, Amsterdam may take yet another step towards pushing its society to the very forefront of drug liberalization.
In a somewhat stunning turn of events, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema has called for ‘the regulation of the sale and use of cocaine’ to ‘undermine the economics of criminal enterprises that she said are racking up billions in profit’.
“The mayor, who has also sought to curtail drug-seeking vacationers from visiting the Dutch capital city, has organized a public debate on the matter on Jan. 26 in Amsterdam.
‘Let us conclude that hundreds of years of discouragement and repression have achieved very little’, Halsema said in an interview with Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. ‘Apparently people have a need for stimulants. There is a market for that’.
Cocaine seizures in the Netherlands rose last year with Dutch custom authorities seizing nearly 60 metric tons of cocaine in 2023, up from 51 tons in 2022. The largest quantities were found in the ports of Rotterdam and Vlissingen and trafficking also increased at airports, the Dutch government revealed last week.”
Back in December, the Netherlands launched its trial to regulate the cultivation of cannabis.
Dutch News reported:
“The international struggle to defeat the drugs trade – the so-called war on drugs – is both ‘perverse and counterproductive’, Halsema told the paper ahead of a one-day conference on drug-related crime in the capital.
The time has come, she said, to ‘regulate and manage’ rather than try to end the trade. ‘We have handed the market to unscrupulous criminals. They earn billions. And in the meantime, the war on drugs is disrupting entire countries, causing countless victims and strengthening the criminal business model’.”
Earlier this month Halsema said she feared the Netherlands may become a ‘narco state’.
“’Amsterdam, as an international financial hub, now serves as a marketplace where the demand for drugs is being determined, and negotiations and payments are being made from all over the world’, the mayor wrote. ‘If this continues… our economy will be inundated with criminal money and violence will reach an all-time high’.”
The mayor says she does not take a ‘moral position’ on the widespread use of ‘recreational drugs’ in the capital.
“’The widespread use of drugs is integrated into society’, she said. ‘The market is enormous. But there are risks to public health and then you should not leave the market to criminals’. Instead, she said, there should be a ‘pragmatic approach’ to the problem.”
The mayor’s position does reverse her track record, since as recently as April ’22 she was pushing repeatedly to block visitors from buying marijuana from coffee shops.
And in July of that same year, Halsema vowed to ‘shift the economic balance between residents and tourists, and rethink Amsterdam’s free-wheeling image as a magnet for sex- and drug-seeking vacationers’.