Drug laws change in Netherlands

by Beacon Staff • December 10, 2008

KASTEEL WELL, The Netherlands-Future Emerson travelers studying abroad at Kasteel Well might be disappointed to find their experience may not be as magical as they expected.

The Netherlands banned the sale and cultivation of hallucinogenic mushrooms, tightening the country's notoriously liberal drug policy in reaction to the 2007 suicide of an intoxicated French teenager.

Effective since Dec. 1, the production and sale of fresh magic mushrooms can result in a maximum jail sentence of four years.

Laura Notini, a junior marketing communication major at Kasteel Well, said she understands the reasoning for the mushroom ban, but that it could possibly lead to more harm than good.

"It seems hypocritical to have a ban on a soft drug like mushrooms out of concern for people's safety, [while] you can still easily find things like coke or ecstasy on the streets of the Red Light District," she said.

In an increased effort to shed its "anything goes" image, the Dutch government has also proposed to reform the city of Amsterdam, proposing to shutter 43 of its 228 marijuana coffee shops, and up to half of its brothels.

The city plans to spend between $38 and $51 million to bring hotels, restaurants and cultural organizations to Amsterdam's neighborhoods, in hopes of cleaning up the historic city.

Junior Tyler Sanborn, a media business management major, said the new measures will undoubtedly change the feel of the city, but will not necessarily ruin the entire Amsterdam experience.

"You'll always be able to find pot and prostitutes there if you try.",Ashley Portero, iBeacon/i foreign correspondent