For too many people – for far, far too many, in fact, but not for any of you readers of this weblog, I would wager – the only fact filed in their brains under “Netherlands” or “Holland” is “it’s that place where you can go smoke weed and it’s legal, man!” And that’s true: you can smoke weed here, and it’s legal, as long as you follow some trifling rules regarding time and place.
But Dutch culture also stems from a rather Calvinist historical background (think “Thou Shalt Not!”), which cannot but give rise to various paradoxes – if you’d rather not call them “hypocrisies” – such as that, while it’s legal to buy hash and marijuana in small amounts, it’s strictly-speaking illegal to supply the stuff in any commercially-meaningful amounts. And the public authorities take a particularly dim view of marijuana “farms” or “plantations.”
Combine all that with Dutch technical ingenuity, and what you can come up with as a result is what (fittingly) the Dutch religious newspaper Nederlands Dagblad is now reporting: Unmanned helicopter tracks down marijuana-cultivation. (more…)