A Dutch invention. It's effective in Holland, and the French hate it. Ok, I don't understand completely, but here's a summary:

Hard drugs All hard drugs, except alcohol and cigarettes are illegal. Alcohol may only be sold to persons at least 16 years old. If you are a heroin abuser, you can get free needles and Methadone. Of course you have to prove this. Laying in the gutter appears to be insufficient for this.

Soft drugs Soft drugs like cannabis are illegal. But you are allowed to possess or grow a small amount for "personal use". So called coffee shops in Amsterdam are allowed to sell these portions. Of course, the dealers who deliver the stuff to the shops are acting against the law.

Dutch culture has been called a good model for a benign trans-cultural civilization, something that bears serious consideration. Ironically, this is due to the rapacious mercantile history of Holland.

A red herring. I believe that the illegality of drugs drive them underground, the very place where they cause the most harm to society. The desire to try drugs prompts otherwise law-abiding citizens to associate with criminals. Career drug dealers are likely to be involved in guns and gang warfare. Unregulated guns and gang warfare to me represent a far greater threat than a few self-inflicted overdoses. Civilians might get caught in the crossfire.

I don't think everyone should take drugs, but I do believe that making drugs (including "hard" drugs such as heroin) legal would address a large number of problems drugs cause in society.

In Holland (or more specifically, Amsterdam: I am not certain the approach extends to the whole country), drugs are not legal, merely "decriminalised" - people are breaking laws, but Amsterdam has made a decision to let them off. This strikes me as merely ignoring the problem.

A proper program of drugs legalisation would legitimise the trade in drugs. Trading standards authorities would perform random tests to ensure that drugs were not cut with battery acid. The treasury would raise taxes on the sale and import of drugs, but people would still buy these drugs, because most people would prefer to deal with a legitimate business than with a criminal underworld.

If drugs were legal, hospitals would stand more of a chance when faced with an overdose case. At present vital minutes are wasted trying to ascertain what the person took, and what he though he took: the packaging on a commercial pack of heroin would state clearly what dosage and what blend of substances were present.

Erm; this argument belongs on another node. Back to the point: Amsterdam does not present the role model for a society which tolerates drugs.

The Danes are also pretty open minded (or practical, your choice) regarding this topic. And curiously they seem to get a lot less public attention than the Dutch.

In Copenhagen there is an area known as Christiania. It is a former military base that was seized by Hippies and Squatters about thirty years ago.

The area is far too large for the authorities to evict them, and after multiple attempts by the Squatters to secede from Denmark a truce was called.

Essentially, they are left alone to run their community according to their own rules. Danish laws, with few exceptions, do not apply in Christiania.

In Christiana, drugs are not relegated to the back rooms of dark coffee shops - they are sold, bazzar like, in the streets.

Pretty wild sight! Pot, hash, mushrooms all proudly displayed by the vendors, with prices and all sorts of advertising, specials, etc.

Real positive energy; art work abounds, children and pets freely roam the streets. People seem real happy there.

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