Marijuana prohibition is built around certain premises that many pro-legalization advocates are trying to refute. Those who believe that cannabis use should remain illegal cite harmful effects and the risks of addiction among many other reasons. On the other side of the spectrum are people who call for marijuana to be legalized. And here are some of the common arguments they use.
Prohibition doesn’t serve its purpose
Those who support calls to legalize marijuana posit that there are no strong and definitive proofs that prohibition minimizes its use. Some of the studies conducted on the subject even suggest that making marijuana use illegal may actually increase its usage. This is attributed to the forbidden fruit effect. Many support the idea that as long as weed is illegal, many who secretly use it are more at risk because of lack of knowledge on its proper use.
Legalizing marijuana doesn’t automatically increase drug use
Another argument from those who oppose the calls to legalize cannabis is the potential risk of addiction and more drug use. They believe that smoking pot could be the starting point towards using other types of illegal drugs. But studies appear to refute the said argument. In fact, The Netherlands which is known hasn’t seen any surge in drug use since it decriminalized possession and use of weed up to certain legal limits.
Legalization does not pave the way for abuse
A report by media professional and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta indicates that dependence rate among adult users is much lower in marijuana compared with other drugs like cocaine and heroin. According to the said report, roughly 10% of adults who use marijuana develop dependence to the drug. This is lower than the 20% and 25% attributed to cocaine and heroin respectively. In fact, the report shows that tobacco is more addicting than the drugs mentioned.
Marijuana has medical benefits
Germany has recently joined the ranks of countries that legalized marijuana for medical purposes. The law is set to be implemented by 2017. Studies indicate that medical use of marijuana has many beneficial effects. It is said to relieve nausea which can be a boon to cancer patients suffering from certain treatments’ side effects. Marijuana can also help in alleviating pain.
The Netherlands may be tolerant towards smoking weed. But it still maintains strict rules on what’s legal and illegal when it comes to using marijuana in the country. If you are visiting Amsterdam, here are some of the things worth knowing if you’re thinking of giving cannabis a try:
Look for coffeeshops
Coffeeshops are not to be confused with the regular coffee shops or coffee houses strewn around Amsterdam. The former are establishments where it is legal to buy and smoke weed. There are many of them around Amsterdam so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. But don’t look for any obvious signs or advertisements indicating that the place is selling pot. It is illegal for coffeeshops to advertise selling of marijuana.
Pick a coffeeshop that best suits you
Amsterdam has over a hundred coffeeshops. Finding the right place for you can be overwhelming given the wide array of choices. To make choosing easier, you can check for some recommendations online. Explore coffeeshops away from main tourist hubs if you want a more relaxing and less crowded ambiance. 1e Hulp Coffeeshop, Abraxas, Barney’s, and Katsu are just a few of the places where you can legally purchase and smoke a pot while in the area.
Get inside and buy what you need
You can buy and smoke pot with ease in any coffeeshop. As long as you’re of legal age, you can pretty much get the weed as long as you’re inside the establishment. While many establishments don’t check guests’ identification, make sure that you carry a valid ID with you just in case they ask for it. You can smoke up to 5 grams of marijuana. It is illegal to use more than that.
Price and quality varies
Price and quality of marijuana sold in coffeeshops vary. Avoid the more touristy spots if you’re looking for quality weed at more affordable prices. Take the less beaten paths to coffeeshops in quiet streets or anywhere that there is not much tourist traffic.
Don’t smoke in public
Don’t buy and smoke weed outside coffeeshops. Smoking pot is illegal in public places in the country. Avoid any dealers on the street who may try talk to you into buying weed from them. If you want to experience smoking pot while in Amsterdam, make sure that you do it only in legitimate establishments like coffeeshops.
Marijuana prohibition varies around the world. There are countries that have decriminalized possession and personal use for up to certain amounts. Others have legalized its use for medical purposes the most recent of which is Germany that will start implementing the law by 2017. There are also countries that have legalized recreational and medical use of cannabis. Here are the places in the world where it’s legal to smoke weed.
In Colombia, personal use of marijuana is legal for up to 22 grams. And there is no limit set for medical use. Cultivating marijuana for personal consumption is also legal as long as it does not exceed the mandated limit of 20 plants. There is no cultivation limit for medical purposes.
The Netherlands has long been known for its tolerance to marijuana use. It is legal to carry up to 5 grams of marijuana and recreational use in public has been decriminalized if you are over 18 years old. Over a hundred coffeeshops in Amsterdam sell marijuana where it is legal to smoke them. However, smoking pot in public areas other than the designated coffeeshops is prohibited.
Peru is fairly tolerant with cannabis use provided you stay within legal limits. Recreational use is legal for up to 8 grams and is mostly tolerated among locals. For tourists, caution must be observed given stricter rules that may be implemented.
Spain is another European country where private use is legal. Cannabis clubs can be found in cities like Barcelona and Valencia. These establishments are like the coffee shops of Amsterdam where it is legal to purchase and use weed. The said clubs can also grown marijuana which they can sell to patrons or members. There are now over 500 cannabis clubs across Spain according to estimates.
It is legal to use marijuana for citizens of Uruguay who are of legal age, which is over 18 years old. But it is not indicated how much would be the legal limit for recreational use.