What You Can and Cannot Do Under Holland's "Tolerant" Drug Policy
The Netherlands is known for being more tolerant then most countries when it comes to the use of soft drugs like marijuana, but internationals who come here should not make the mistake of interpreting this as a free-for-all.
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has just reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the use of alcohol and drugs do not have an adverse effect on the working and social conditions of students, staff and visitors.
Moreover, Wittenborg has a very clear policy – spelled out in Part 11 of the EEG (Education & Examination Guide) – which prohibits the use of drugs on university premises.
In short, it reads that the violation of Dutch or European law pertaining to drugs will under no circumstances be tolerated. This includes:
· the use, possession, or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances on Wittenborg premises, except as expressly permitted by law
· the use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, except as expressly permitted by the law and university policies, or public intoxication
· the use or possession of drug-related paraphernalia on university in-campus housing
In the Netherlands, the government differentiates between soft drugs and hard drugs. It has a tolerant policy towards soft drugs like marijuana, which means that although the sale of soft drugs in so-called 'coffee shops' is actually a criminal offence, the public prosecution does not prosecute coffee shops as long as they stick to certain requirements.
Likewise, it does not prosecute members of the public for possession of small quantities of soft drugs – 5g or less marijuana or hash, and 5 plants or less.
Municipalities in turn determine whether to allow coffee shops to operate within their boundaries, and if so, how many. They may also impose additional rules.
More information from the government on these policies can be found here.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press