Mayor of Amsterdam says selling and using cocaine shouldn’t be a criminal offence

The Mayor of Amsterdam Credit: Civil Liberties Union for Europe

Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema has stated that: “the sale and use of cocaine and other drugs should no longer be a punishable offence”, in an article published on Thursday, January 25. 

This controversial statement is from an interview in the Financieele Dagblad (FD), and according to the Mayor the fight against drugs is “perverse and counterproductive.” 

Instead, she proposes that drug markets be regulated to undermine the revenue model of “unscrupulous criminals.” 

Her words have caused quite a stir, so much so that her spokesperson released a statement confirming that: “Halsema does not advocate for the rash legalisation of cocaine, but for regulating the drug.” The spokesperson also noted this is already happening in the Dutch government’s cannabis cultivation pilot project, where cannabis is legally supplied to coffeeshops.

It is not the first time that Halsema has advocated for a new approach to drug policy. For example, during a conference on organised crime in October 2022, she said that “the war on drugs is not working.” She also expressed the hope that countries would consider drug use differently and that an “alternative strategy” should be formulated.

Leader of People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, Dilan Yesilgoz responded by declaring that she thinks “regulating the cocaine trade is nonsense”, adding that: “the Netherlands, as an important transit country for drugs, suffers enormously from organised crime and how it has creeped its way into other areas of life. We are dealing with major violent crimes; with journalists, judges and lawyers who are threatened. That is my priority.”

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Written by

Jennifer Popplewell

Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.