May 10, 2009
Amsterdam Protesters Gather For Legal Marijuana
150 peaceful protesters gathered in Amsterdam Saturday as part of a global action for the legalization of marijuana.
They congregated on a public square, paying attention to pro-legalization speeches as marijuana was smoked and music blasted from speakers around the crowd. T-shirts with pro-cannabis messages, as well as snacks made with marijuana were sold at stands in the square.
"Prohibiting something that people will always want causes illegality and the emergence of criminal gangs," Daan Rosenberg Polak, a publisher of pro-legalization literature, said to AFP at the meeting.
"In the Netherlands, we've had a good system since the 1970s, but recent governments have been trying to take us back to a more conservative system," he said, insisting that the reasonable use of marijuana had zero danger.
Saturday's protesters condemned Dutch law as deceitful for permitting the use of five grams of cannabis, but outlawing its growth and mass retail. 700 Dutch coffee shops have distinctive licenses to vend marijuana but cannot have more than 500 grams at their business.
A few Dutch municipalities have of late made known plans to shut down all or part of the coffee shops, mainly to dissuade crime and drug tourism.
Rowena Huijbregts of the Association for Cannabis Consumers insists that full legalization is the single decision, "otherwise, people are forced to buy their soft drugs from dealers who also sell hard drugs."
On Friday, it was announced at the protest that there were protesters in 250 cities in the world, like Paris, Berlin and Madrid, in connection to the 10th annual Global Marijuana March.
The goal was to set in motion the full legalization of cannabis, from growth to the final sale.
"Prohibiting cannabis has undesirable effects: it promotes trafficking, criminality, a black market economy and a poor quality product," contended Jacqueline Woerlee, a spokeswoman for the Association for the Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition.