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Europe: Dutch Appeals Court Rules Medical Marijuana Patient Can Grow His Own

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #458)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Up until now, it has been illegal to grow marijuana in the Netherlands, but a case decided Tuesday has opened a crack in the dike for patients. Although Holland's famous coffee shops provide retail cannabis sales with the acquiescence of the Dutch state, the country has never made any provision to bring the growers who supply the shops out of the black market. Similarly, although Holland allows for medical marijuana to be purchased at pharmacies, it did not allow patients to grow their own.

Until Tuesday, when, according to Agence France Presse, an appeals court in Leeuwarden in the northern Netherlands ruled that multiple sclerosis patient Wim Moorlag and his wife should not have been prosecuted for growing a crop that would provide him with 20 grams of marijuana a week. Although a lower court had found the Moorlags guilty of illegal cultivation (and fined them $314), the appeals court held that Moorlag's right to try to alleviate pain connected with his disease overrode the state's interest in banning marijuana cultivation.

Moorlag had argued that he could not buy marijuana from coffee shops because it could contain fungi and bacteria especially dangerous for MS sufferers.

Moorlag's attorney, Wim Anker, told the Dutch ANP news agency the decision would have broad ramifications. "This means that other patients can also legally grow their own cannabis, not just MS patients but also people with AIDS," he said.

Dutch prosecutors, however, are not yet throwing in the towel. On Wednesday, they announced they had asked the Dutch Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court decision. "We introduced an appeals motion on Tuesday before the Supreme Court," said Marina Weel, spokesperson for the prosecutor's office in Leeuwaarden.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I commend the court on this ruling as it moves us closer to an optimum solution where every adult, throughout the planet, has the inalienable right to cultivate their own Marijuana without government taxation, regulation or any form of criminalization. This is essentially the goal of the "Merp" Project.

The "Merp" Project: Marijuana ReLegalization Policy (MRP) Project

I have proposed this solution a number of years ago. Here are a couple of links that describe it in a little more detail:

If you like the concept I encourage you to share it with your friends. I strongly believe that this is "THE" optimum solution to the current policy paradigm, specifically concerning Marijuana. And given changing age demographics and opinion there is no reason that this should not be fully implemented in the next few years. The key to achieving, this and many other goals, is to start rejecting what I like to call "Needless Incrementalism."

I plan to speak about this policy, and a few others, over the next year. Might even bring my guitar along for added distraction. So if you are interested in hearing more please stop by my website:

The only barriers to changing this world lie in our own minds. Change your mind, change the world.

Bruce W. Cain
Editor of "New Age Citizen"

Fri, 10/20/2006 - 6:27pm Permalink

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