Police brutality in Dutch ‘war on weed’

A shocking account of police brutality and scare tactics in the Dutch war on weed; on December 5th, an inhabitant of North Holland province was raided by twelve police officers, although he did not possess a single cannabis plant. He posted his story as a comment on a VOC article but we feel it deserves wider attention. This kind of police brutality around cannabis used to be unthinkable in the Netherlands. After four years of VVD hardliners Ivo Opstelten and Fred Teeven running the justice department it happens on a daily basis.  

Ivo Opstelten (VVD), minister of justice (© Gonzo media)
Ivo Opstelten (VVD), minister of justice (© Gonzo media)

Last Friday the Police visited (and then searched) my residence here in the North Holland Region.
I was in the process of moving some grow equipment from the house to a van, which was lawfully rented and duly parked on the street (engine off and no one on the driver’s seat). A police car suddenly appeared on the bike lane and parked right in front the van so as to block it. Two officers, an older woman and a younger man dropped out of the car asking me, and the guy who was helping me, what we were doing. I explained I lived there and I was packing some personal belongings in view of my forthcoming move out of said house.

Without clearly identifying himself or his older colleague, he asked me to open the van. When he saw the soil bags piled in the vehicle he asked me what the soil was for. I replied that I like growing basil and peppers indoor. Overall, I pointed out that as of that date (5 December 2014) it was perfectly legal to possess indoor growing hardware in the Netherlands. While the older officer identified me (she took my Dutch driver’s licence), the younger cop informed me that they asked their chief to join them with a formal document allowing them to access the premises. I asked why? He replied that they suspected I had cannabis plants in the house. I repeatedly pointed out that there were no cannabis plants in the house. I was explained that they received a call from a neighbor who suspected I was growing cannabis in said house.

Police looking for cannabis in Eindhoven (© Gonzo media)
Police looking for cannabis in Eindhoven (© Gonzo media)

While waiting for the Police Chief, at least four plain-clothes officers showed up, together with at least 6 other police officers in uniform. While I was forced to wait in the cold during the whole process, the younger officer asked me about a wooden panel sporting two holes. I said that I was exercising my cutting skills on a cheap wooden panel.

Eventually the Police Chief arrived but, before showing me the warrant to search my residence, he had a private chat with the younger officer so that I could not hear what they were saying to each other. I was showed this two-page form based on the Opiumwet, but I was not given a copy of such document, notwithstanding my strong insistence.

I opened the door and showed the officers that no plants were in the house but, instead of leaving the premises immediately, they spent 45 minutes searching, opening boxes, taking pictures (with the younger officer’s personal i-Phone), asking questions. When I asked why they were taking pictures of my place, the younger officer replied that with that document “they could do whatever they wanted”.

After being totally cooperative I was asked and then forced to wait at the door while the younger officer and the Chief of Police spent 13 minutes alone in the upper floors of the house. I protested that I did not approve of police officers to freely move around in my house without being able to check on what they were doing. The two young officers guarding me on the door repeated that “with the document we showed you we can ask you to wait here and you must comply”…

When the chief and the young officer finally exited the house, the former told me that the latter would explain me. The younger officer then showed me a small amount of cannabis flowers (much less than 5 grams) in a latex glove and, after taking my driver’s licence from the older officer, said the following:

“I found this cannabis upstairs and I am seizing it. We do not arrest you now but we all know what this gear is intended for. From the 1st of January it will be illegal to possess this material in the Netherlands, so if we come back after the first of January and find this equipment we will arrest you”…

At this point I insisted that it was perfectly legal to possess that material and I reiterated the request for the authorization, which was denied again as this officer and the Chief insisted that it would be mailed to me in the days to come.

The following day I realised that I was missing my driver’s licence but since I had a messy house I thought I would find it in the process of tiding the house up. It did not happen! On Wednesday, December 10th, I thus personally showed up at the Police headquarters, close to Koog Zaandijk station. I explained the situation to the officers at the reception, gave them a copy of the driver’s licence and my passport and waited for something to happen. After 15 minutes they told me that the officer that was in charge of the search was not in the premises and asked me to leave my phone number assuring me that I would be contacted by the young officer.


Of course I have not been contacted by anyone so far.
I find this rather shameful. Is there any rule of law in this sorry country(side)?

Comments (3)

  • virfoolio 16/12/2014 at 10:26 am Reply

    Nobody from the Police has contacted me yet. I have just asked for potential legal assistance. I would like to understand if the Police could behave as they actually did. And what to do about the driver’s licence. What is happening here is nothing but another among the various forms of Orange Hypocrisies …

  • Ian 16/12/2014 at 11:55 pm Reply

    cant believe you didn’t realise he still had your licence.

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