In the Netherlands it is forbidden to advertise for cannabis. The Opium Act is there in plain about it: 'Every publication which is clearly intended the sale, supply or provision of a drug as defined in Article 2 or to promote 3 is prohibited. Cannabis is one such agent, is found in Article 3 of the Opium Act. What does this mean in practice? Can a coffee shop advertise his business? In the Netherlands is writing about a cannabis offense?

These are questions that deserve an answer.

Make your advertisements for soft drugs as a coffee shop flyers, filter tips and distributes cards with just the name and address of the coffee shop, without cannabis leaves or other references to cannabis? About last year there was an important process takes place at the Amsterdam Court. The prosecutor argued that such merchandise fell under the ban on advertising for drugs and so he fell operators for years tricky with subpoenas. But is advertising for a coffee the same as advertising for cannabis?

The Amsterdam court thought so and condemned the coffee shop owners. Coffeeshop owners who went on appeal, and with success. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal ruled in the autumn of last year that a coffee shop that advertises its own coffee shop does not violate the ban on advertising for soft drugs, so that the message "coffee shop (name and address) is not an advertisement for soft drugs. However, no indication stand there and a connection with cannabis.

That much is clear and you would expect that this statement the prosecutor in Amsterdam would bring to contemplate. But no: there is just merrily litigated on pieces of cardboard, lighters and coasters. Was it used to be in the courtroom to serious matters, the past year I have dozens of hours wasted on this kind of nonsense, even after a clear acquittal of the court.

MTR seems clear. You may not advertise for selling and delivering soft drugs but for your coffee shop. Over there existed since the autumn of 2010, no doubt. It is true that one coffee shop owner was sentenced by the court because he had a card in his shop when a hemp leaf was depicted saying "cannabis cup winner. That was the Court openly commendation for drugs. Cassation against this judgment is set. Then is not yet decided.

Now, not only has to make a coffee shop operator with the advertising ban for cannabis art. 3b Opium Act. He / she is also bound by the ban on poster ring from the AHOJG criteria. This makes it complicated. The AHOJG criteria constitute a guarantee that is not criminally acted as soft drugs are sold under these conditions. You may as coffee shop owner according to the national legislation does not tolerate more than make a brief description on the front of your coffee shop. Rules about affichering however determined by the local triangle. That happened in Amsterdam coffee shop owners by giving much more space than that one brief description on the facade. Also merchandise without hemp leaves and no details of the coffee shop is permitted on it. The prosecutor summoned if there was an address on the lighter. Then there was, according to him talk of violation of the prohibition to advertise for cannabis. As mentioned, this is not advertising for drugs but for the coffee shop. And that is not even in Amsterdam, if you mention the coffee shop address it. In Amsterdam, you will receive a step from the Steps and you are cleared of advertising for drugs. You shoot so little for the acquittal.

Keep your so mainly to the rules of the prohibition of posters from the AHOJG criteria because you get an administrative penalty in breach of these rules may arrive very hard.

 Freedom of expression and press freedom

How is it with the publication of all facts from the wonderful world of weed? Just to coincide with the point: is a publisher of "literature" are in violation of the prohibition to advertise for cannabis?

The answer is no. Where perhaps for coffee shop owners more emphasis can be placed on enforcement of the ban of posters of soft drugs, journalists enjoy a relatively high degree of freedom to write what they want to write. Granted, wants the current government if possible make every citizen silenced when it comes to the use of cannabis, but an outright ban to write about cannabis is even difficult for Minister Opstelten. He also happens to be bound by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which only permits restrictions on freedom of the press necessary for national security, the prevention of crime, etc. The Dutch Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and prohibits censorship, where everyone remains responsible under the law.

Former "magazine" published EssensiE especially on cannabis seeds, which are not prohibited. Incidentally are permissible disclosures about cannabis for medical or scientific information. EssensiE propagates no sale or delivery of cannabis, but writes about seeds and cultivation. That is in my view not prohibited from encouraging the use of cannabis. But coffee shop owners in Amsterdam can count on seizure of "journals" as found when checking images of cannabis leaves. These are the narrow margins of tolerance that adopted sometimes grotesque shapes.