Cannabis use and proximity to coffee shops in the Netherlands
Across Europe, the illicit retail market in cannabis is similar, with various levels of distribution ranging from social suppliers to profit-making sellers. The Netherlands is an exception, however, because retail sales of cannabis for personal consumption by adults are condoned in ‘coffee shops’. Almost 80 percent of Dutch municipalities have no coffee shops and, of all coffee shops one-third are located in Amsterdam.
The aim of this paper is to assess the influence of coffee shop availability on the prevalence and intensity of cannabis use, as well as the effectiveness of the ‘separation of markets’ policy. This study found current cannabis use and the proximity of coffee shops were not correlated, but early use of cannabis might still be influenced by the proximity or availability of coffee shops. From the results it remains unresolved whether the presence of coffee shops stimulates more intense cannabis use (routine activity), or whether more frequent users more often buy at coffee shops (rational choice). Coffee shops may not cause but rather facilitate frequent use. It is suggested longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether coffee shops might stimulate both frequency of use and amounts used per occasion.
The aim of this paper is to assess the influence of coffee shop availability on the prevalence and intensity of cannabis use, as well as the effectiveness of the ‘separation of markets’ policy. A convenience sample of nightlife visitors and a sub-selection of previous year cannabis users were used for analyses on cannabis and hard drugs use. Logistic regression analyses showed that coffee shop proximity does not seem to be linked to prevalence of cannabis use or intensity of use. In addition, proximity of coffee shops does not seem to be linked directly to hard drugs use.
Wouters, M., Benschop, A., van Laar, M., & Korf, D. (2012). Cannabis use and proximity to coffee shops in the Netherlands European Journal of Criminology, 9 (4), 337-353 DOI: 10.1177/1477370812448033