This post comes via Know More, Wonkblog's social media site.
Initiative 71 went into effect last week, which legalized marijuana in Washington, D.C., under certain circumstances. But the mayor’s office was quick to reassure the public that the city was not going to “become like Amsterdam.” In a leaflet of frequently asked questions, the mayor’s office specified that the law only allows home use by adults 21 and over, not the sale of any amount of marijuana or cafes like Amsterdam's.
Apparently, the Dutch took offense. In a sharply worded post on Feb. 26, the Dutch embassy called out the mayor for implying that “being ‘like Amsterdam’ would be a bad thing.” The embassy even created this infographic guide to all the ways that Washington is not “like Amsterdam.” Specifically, Amsterdam has more bike trails, museums, people, water, and public transportation, and it allows its residents to carry only a fraction of the amount of marijuana that D.C. does.
Besides the trolly infographic, the Dutch Embassy actually had an important point to make: That marijuana is tightly regulated in the Netherlands, and that their laws may make a lot more sense than what has just been enacted in D.C.
Washington now allows its residents to grow and posses far more of the stuff than the Dutch do – up to 2 ounces in the district, compared to only 0.176 ounces in the Netherlands. Because of Congressional interference, the U.S. capital lacks any system to regulate the sale or taxation of marijuana, though people can give each other up to 1 ounce without remuneration. In the Netherlands, the sale is only permitted in licensed coffee shops to people 18 and older, and purchases are limited to five grams per person per day. Minors, alcohol, advertising, nuisance and (since 2013) foreigners are technically barred from Dutch coffee shops.
As a final zinger, the embassy points out that consumption levels of marijuana are actually higher in the U.S. than in their mythical stoner’s haven. Citing data from government surveys, the embassy points out that a quarter of Dutch between the ages of 15 and 64 have consumed marijuana, compared to 41.5 percent of Americans.
More stories from Know More: