The lower house of the Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted [vote, in Dutch] 77-72 to approve a bill [text, in Dutch] that would tolerate the cultivation of cannabis. Possessing and buying the drug at shops has been tolerated in the Netherlands but the selling and growing of the drug and selling the plant to the shops has remained illegal. Proponents of the bill have argued that it will allow for quality standards, free up police resources and allow tax revenue. The bill passed the lower house along party lines [AP report] with none of the 17 political parties being split on the issue. If the parties vote the same way in the upper house, it is not expected to pass.
The use of legalization of marijuana has been an important issue for many countries around the world. In January Maine’s governor signed [JURIST report] a moratorium bill that delayed the legal sale of marijuana by retailers for one year, although still allowed the possession of marijuana for personal use by those 21 or older. In April Mexico’s president proposed [JURIST report] a bill relaxing laws on marijuana use. In December 2015 Colombia’s president legalized [JURIST report] medical marijuana. In June 2015 Canada’s top court lifted [JURIST report] a restriction that the only acceptable form of medical marijuana was smoking the dried plant.