November 5, 2009
By Reed Stevenson and Elizabeth Fullerton
The Dutch are among the lowest users of
marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands’ well-known
tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday.
Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with
the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an [annual report by the
European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction->http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/events/2009/annual-report], using latest
A higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France
took cannabis last year, the EU agency said, with the highest being Italy at
14.6 percent. Usage in Italy used to be among the lowest at below 10 percent
a decade ago.
Countries with the lowest usage rates, according to the Lisbon-based agency,
were Romania, Malta, Greece and Bulgaria.
Cannabis use in Europe rose steadily during the 90s and earlier this decade,
but has recently stabilised and is beginning to show signs of decline, the
agency said, owing to several national campaigns to curb and treat use of
“Data from general population and school surveys point to a stabilising or
even decreasing situation,” the report said.
The policy on soft drugs in the Netherlands, one of the most liberal in
Europe, allows for the sale of marijuana at “coffee shops”, which the Dutch
have allowed to operate for decades, and possession of less than 5 grams
Nearly a fifth of the 228 coffee shops in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, a
popular draw for tourists, are scheduled to be shut down because they are
too close to schools.
Read the full report by the [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug