Robert J. MacCoun, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the UC Berkeley School of Law, said that the well-documented Dutch experience with marijuana shops may provide important information for other jurisdictions wrestling with how to deal with cannabis.
Dutch citizens use cannabis at more modest rates than many of their European neighbors.
Dutch youth report high rates of availability of cannabis, but not as elevated as reported rates in the United States and several other countries.
The Dutch “continuation” rate for using marijuana from a causal experimentation in youth to regular usage in adulthood (ages 15-34) is fairly modest by international standards
Past-year cannabis use among Dutch 15-to-24-year-olds dropped from 14.3 to 11.4 percent between 1997 and 2005.
Dutch cannabis users are more likely to be admitted for substance abuse treatment than their counterparts in most European countries, while the United States reports four marijuana treatment admissions for every one admission in the Netherlands. It is not clear whether this reflects a greater investment in treatment by Dutch officials, or the higher potency of Dutch marijuana.
In the United States, about half of those admitted for treatment for marijuana addiction happen through criminal justice referrals. In the Netherlands, such referrals account for closer to 10 percent.