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Cannabis usage in the Netherlands 2018

Less than a quarter of the respondents to a widespread drug use survey in the Netherlands from 2019 admitted to having used cannabis products at least once in their lives. Furthermore, less than five percent indicated that they had smoked a joint or eaten a special brownie (cannabis edible) in the last month. These figures do not exactly confirm the stereotype of the perpetually high Dutchie. In fact, a similar European study found that the Netherlands is not even the country with the highest cannabis usage in Europe. In Spain, France, and Italy, more than 10 percent of the adults used cannabis products in 2019.

Drug use trend

Cannabis usage in the Netherlands increased over time. An exploration of the results from previous editions of this survey reveals that in 2018, more people had used cannabis than back in 1997. The peak year of cannabis usage in the Netherlands was 2015, when nearly nine percent of the respondents indicated having used cannabis in the preceding year.

The legality of cannabis in the Netherlands

Contrary to popular opinion, soft drugs such as cannabis are not legal in the Netherlands. Strictly speaking, the selling, use, and possession of cannabis are illegal, and users are subject to prosecution. However, the police in the Netherlands adopt a policy of tolerance towards recreational users. As such, individuals can carry up to 5 grams of cannabis, which they are able to buy from specified retailers knows as coffeeshops. These coffeeshops must abide by strict regulations. For instance, they may only hold 500 grams of cannabis at any given time. Coffeeshops are not only found in Amsterdam, but all over the Netherlands.

Cannabis usage in the Netherlands in 2018, by frequency of use

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period


Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Email survey

Supplementary notes

The source does not specify the number of respondents.

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Statistics on "Drugs in the Netherlands"

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