Developments in Dutch Drug Policy:A Speech Sponsored by the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research

The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research Press Release:

The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research is pleased to welcome its 6th speaker in the AY 20012-13 Speaker Series:

Craig Reinarman, PhD, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz

“Developments in Dutch Drug Policy” 

Monday, March 25 5:30-7:00 p.m. in BSS Native Forum

This presentation begins with a paradox: At the very moment when more countries are shifting their drug policies toward the Dutch approach (including the US), the Dutch government seemed to move in the opposite direction. What happened?  Did Dutch citizens and their parliamentary representatives suddenly change their mind about cannabis and repudiate 30 years of the world’s most liberal drug policy? Craig Reinarman will describe the new cannabis law (“weetpass”) passed by the new Dutch Parliament in 2010 and situate it in the curious conjuncture of conditions that engendered it.  Supporters of the US model of punitive prohibition read the new law as a sign the Dutch have at last come to their senses, but the law does not reinstate cannabis prohibition and does not symbolize a shift to “get tough” drug policies.  Indeed, the government that initially passed this law quickly collapsed and a new government was elected last fall. Some local governments in the southern provinces (e.g., Maastricht) implemented the new law and reaped unintended consequences, while other local governments (e.g., Amsterdam) have said they will not enforce it. There are virtues in this ambiguity.

Craig Reinarman is Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He earned his B.S. in Economics at Babson College, his M.A. in Sociology at San Francisco State University, and his PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.  He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Utrecht and the University of Amsterdam, and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam; a member of the Board of Directors of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence; a consultant to the World Health Organization’s Programme on Substance Abuse; and a principal investigator on research grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Justice.  Dr. Reinarman is the author of American States of Mind (Yale University Press, 1987) and co-author of Cocaine Changes (Temple University Press, 1991) and Crack in America (University of California Press, 1997). He has published numerous articles on drug use, law and policy in such journals as Theory and Society, the British Journal of Addiction, the International Journal of Drug Policy, the American Journal of Public Health, and Addiction Research and Theory.

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