Regulation on Cannabis in the Netherlands

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Regulation on Cannabis in the Netherlands: Tolerated but not Legal

There is a widely spread misconception that cannabis is legal in the Netherlands. In reality, the legal situation is a bit more complex. Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands, it is tolerated, a policy that has been in place since the 1970s.

The tolerance policy, known as "gedoogbeleid," was introduced in the 1970s to differentiate between hard and soft drugs. This policy means that although certain activities are technically illegal, the authorities do not prosecute them. It is this policy that has allowed the existence of the famous Dutch coffee shops, where the sale of cannabis is tolerated under certain conditions.

The regulation is strictly controlled. Coffee shops, which began to appear in the 1970s, cannot sell more than 5 grams of cannabis per person per day, and they cannot store more than 500 grams on the premises. Additionally, they are not allowed to advertise cannabis, and they must refuse entry to minors. These laws were strengthened in 2013 with the introduction of the "wietpas" (cannabis card), which restricts access to coffee shops to Dutch residents only in certain regions of the country.

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