Published: August 26, 2006 Author: John Tierney, NYT
For Education and Discussion Only. Not for Commercial Use.
"America's drug warriors" need to take a trip to Amsterdam to see that there is no "reefer madness," argues New York Times columnist John Tierney in his Saturday column, RAW STORY has found.
"Arjan Roskam, the creator of the award-winning marijuana blend named 'Arjan's Haze,' has dozens of pictures of celebrity visitors on the wall of his coffee shop in Amsterdam," writes Tierney. "He's got Eminem, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Mike Tyson -- but so far, unfortunately, not a single White House drug czar."
"But if America's drug warriors came here, they would learn something even if they didn't sample any of the dozens of varieties of marijuana sold legally in specially licensed coffee shops," Tierney writes. "They could see that the patrons puffing on joints generally don't look any more zombielike than the crowd at an American bar -- or, for that matter, a congressional subcommittee listening to a lecture on evils of marijuana."
"Even though marijuana has been widely available since the 1970s, enough to corrupt a couple of generations, the Netherlands has not succumbed to reefer madness," Tierney writes.
Excerpts from the Tierney's column:
The Dutch generally use drugs less than Americans do, according to national surveys in both countries (and these surveys might understate Americans' drug usage, since respondents are less likely to admit illegal behavior). More Americans than Dutch reported having tried marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Among teenagers who'd tried marijuana, Americans were more likely to be regular users.
In a comparison of Amsterdam with another liberal port city, San Francisco, Cohen and other researchers found that people in San Francisco were nearly twice as likely to have tried marijuana. Cohen isn't sure exactly what cultural and economic factors account for the different usage patterns in America and the Netherlands, but he's confident he can rule out one explanation.
"Drug policy is irrelevant," says Cohen, the former director of the Center for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam. It's quite logical, he says, to theorize that outlawing drugs would have an impact, but experience shows otherwise, both in America and in European countries with stricter laws than the Netherlands but no less drug use.
This is amazing information. If only the policymakers in the US would take a realistic view of things.