Monday, May 5, 2008

Cannabis Legalization: Australia Should Look at The Netherlands

Following on from my previous post about Dr. Alex Wodak's thoughts on cannabis in Australia, we should take a good look at the latest financial figures in respect to cannabis in the netherlands.

The 'Crossroads' blog pointed me to this page on the NIS News Bulletin site. The NIS is a paper focussed towards Westerners in The Netherlands who only speak English.

They've reported on tax figures for the Dutch Government through the sale of cannabis in 'CoffeeShops'.

AMSTERDAM, 03/05/08 - The Dutch state earns 400 million euros annually in tax revenues from 'coffee shops,' as the Dutch cannabis cafes are called. Sales in the sector total around 2 billion euros, according to conservative estimates by TV programme Reporter.

Reporter calculates that the some 730 coffee shops in the Netherlands sell around 265,000 kilos of hashish and cannabis annually. The bulk of this is grown in the Netherlands. Although coffee-shop owners do not have to pay VAT, the tax service does calculate income tax at the highest rate of around 52 percent.

In fixing the tax rate, the tax service assumes that the selling price of grass is twice the purchasing price. In Amsterdam, where coffee shops often have non-price-conscious foreign tourists as customers, the tax man actually applies gross profit margins of 150 to 180 percent.

The Australian Government could do worse than at least consider a similar model to the Netherlands. Perhaps the revenue could be used for further medicinal research and education campaigns as Dr. Wodak suggested at Nimbin during Mardi Grass.

About Crossroads (from their site)
Crossroads is an English-language web magazine for expatriates in the Maastricht area. First launched in print form in December 2001, Crossroads caters to the many international institutes and the expatriate community in Maastricht.

Readers will find a fresh selection of local and national news, as well as a variety of exclusive in-depth articles about living and working in Maastricht.

In its online format, Crossroads aims at becoming a platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas by inviting readers to post in their own comments to the various news stories.

Crossroads is published by the Maastricht-based European Journalism Centre.

About the NIS News Bulletin (from their site):
Serving the Foreign Community
To non-Dutch speakers, understanding the Netherlands can be challenging. English-language news sources are scarce. And virtually without exception, they focus on ‘the expat’. But who is he?
Do non-Dutch speakers in the Netherlands really want to learn ‘what’s on’ and where to dine out?
Perhaps. But what about the diplomats, businesspeople and other international decision-makers who require accurate, reliable and timely information on political, social and economic developments? They read NIS News Bulletin.