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“Cannabis Has Been Wronged For Years”

“Cannabis has been wronged for years”, says Janna Cousijn, researcher at the University of Amsterdam. “toking every day does not have to be a problem.”

Cannabis use has been thwarted by stereotypes for decades, ranging from false claims of it causing uncontrollable sexual impulses and murderous insanity, to it creating a whole generation of lazy, good-for-nothing ‘slackers’.

Biological Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Cousijn, has been conducting rigorous studies on the effects of cannabis use, in her role as assistant professor in Clinical Developmental Neuroscience. She explains to Amsterdam newspaper Parool: “A lot of cannabis research compares tokers with non-users. I look at differences within the group of regular tokers; people who smoke weed almost every day. I’ve found that some are addicted and have problems, and some don’t. Rough estimates say that half are fulfilling a job, with a family, and the other half are getting into trouble.”

Cousijn says her latest study helps to distinguish between regular cannabis users and those with a dependence. And at the same time tests the validity and clinical value of the laboratory research methods, in real-life settings. These studies help to advance knowledge on the underlying behavioral and neural mechanisms at play, and focus upon approach-bias within different contexts.

Remarkably, Cousijn, in a passing comment when asked if she uses cannabis herself, seems to play into the generalization which she refutes in her study, when saying: “No, never. I do not like to lose control. I always want to have the cleanest disposition of my own mind and body. Hard work may be my addiction.

Breda Welcomes 50 Percent More Coffeeshop Visitors

The city of Breda in the Southern province Brabant has seen the number of coffeeshops visitors rise by 50 percent since the shops in the neighboring towns Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal closed their doors.

According to a city ordered “Area Crime and Nuisance Scan”, the closure of the coffeeshops in January of 2010 led to a 30 percent increase in the number of visitors to Breda coffeeshops. This has now risen to a 50 percent increase.

The data shows that over the last year, the rise in the number of visitors did not lead to an increase in reports of drug-related nuisance or crime.

UN Cannabis Usage Report

According to a study called the ‘World Drug Report’ performed by the U.N (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) cannabis use was reported in 172 countries and territories world wide, with more than a million European consumers in the last month.

The Danish are way ahead of other European countries when it concerns Cannabis use. From the age of 15 to 34 some 50% have tried Cannabis at a certain point in their lives. This is quite the difference compared to the 30 percent European average. Other European countries with higher than average use are France, Spain and the UK. Canada (at 58.6%), and the United States (at 49%) are the leaders when it comes to the world wide consumption of cannabis.

The Netherlands does not occur in this list of top users, according to researchers, this could have to do with the fact that Cannabis is freely available to those 18 years and older in the Netherlands. The report also showed that the prices have been stable or dropped since 1996. With Spain being the cheapest and Norway being the most expensive when it concerns retail prices. The highest concentration of THC (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol) – the active ingredient in cannabis – seems to be in the Netherlands at a little over 20%. Portugal and Italy scrape the bottom of the bag at less than three percent.

The report shows a quite divergent regulatory landscape in the EU, with decriminalization trends in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg but toughening regulations in Denmark, Italy and surprisingly, the big example, the Netherlands.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2008.html

Police Union: Pot Prohibition Is Pointless

The head of the Dutch police union NPB, Hans van Duijn, told radio reporters it is pointless to fight against the supply of cannabis. He thinks it only leads to more crime and he would much rather see soft drugs legalized in The Netherlands. Further, Hans van Duijn is in favour of letting long time addicts use hard drugs under supervision. In his opinion this is the only way to effectively fight drug related crime.

Drug crimes take up a great deal of the police’s time and energy and other crime issues suffer from it, says the retiring NPB chairman. He thinks most senior police officers feel the same way. According to Hans van Duijn, Dutch politicians are reluctant to look at the possibilities of legalizing soft drugs. Under international pressure they prefer to put their heads in the sand, says Mr Van Duijn.