National Narcotics Control Strategies and Security Plans
Dutch National Drug Policy
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Facts and stats
According to a 2009 survey of visitors to a Dutch coffee shop where marijuana was available, 94% of those asked admitted to having used marijuana during the previous month, with 75% admitting to using it on a daily basis, with an average intake of around 4 joints per day.
In 2007 there were 99 drug-related deaths recorded. This figure was lower than that of previous years. Of the recorded deaths, 79.3% were male, with an average age of 39.5 years.
The sale of marijuana in the Netherlands is technically illegal, although it is tolerated in some coffee shops with strict regulation. This includes no advertising, no selling to under 18s and not causing a disturbance to the public. Depending on the location, there may also be further restrictions such as those based on proximity to borders or schools, as well as strict limits on the amount of the drug allowed on the premise, or sold in a single transaction.
In 2005 there were more than 700 such coffee shops tolerated by the Dutch authorities, although this figure is rapidly decreasing, and some districts already operate a zero tolerance approach.
The Netherlands has the lowest drug-related death rate in Europe, and its overall levels of drug use are no greater than that of other countries.
The Dutch drug prevention model emphasises treatment and rehabilitation rather than repression, although the elimination of drug trafficking remains a high priority for Dutch law enforcement agencies.
Governmental / Non-governmental Associations
Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC)
2594 AR The Hague
Tel: + 31 (0)70 - 392 6700
Whilst the NHC is primarily concerned with human rights, it can advise on drug policy, and seeks to assess and reinforce the activities of both governmental and non-governmental organisations.