Memo to California: Cannabis is bad for your economy's health
Exactly why a drug linked to mood swings, weight gain and paranoid thinking is popular with angry libertarians and tax-hungry socialists is a mystery. But at least potheads with glassy eyes have Europe on their side.
Or do they? In Holland's Half-Baked Drug Experiment (Foreign Affairs - May/June 1999, p.87), Larry Collins stresses that we need to see Europe for what it is (or isn't):
Probably 70 percent of the cannabis now puffed in Holland's 1.500 coffee shops is Nederwiet. The result? "We see more and more people getting into trouble with cannabis," acknowledges Dr. J.A. Wallenberg, the director of the Jellinek Clinic, Holland's best-known drug abuse rehabilitation center. "We have indulged ourselves in a kind of blind optimism in Holland concerning cannabis. [Use of] this stronger THC cannabis has stabilized at too high a level. We see young users with psychological problems who use it as a form of self-medication. It can and does produce a chronically passive individual...someone who is lazy, who doesn't want to take initiatives, doesn't want to be active - the kid who'd prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something."
Ten years later, the Netherlands isn't the economic paradise liberals believe - and many citizens are voting with their clogs. While some Dutchmen decided to fight back against blind optimism (with some success), this century emigration is still high at a time when the country needs active-and-alert workers.