The Netherlands has a rich history and reputation for cannabis retail, but what might a store vending a plethora of other drugs look like?
Well, look no further. A mock-up store demonstrating what and how a legal, regulated retail outlet for drugs, such as MDMA, might look like has been set up in the heart of Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.
If their longstanding tolerance policy (gedoogbeleid) were to be extended to other substances that are currently prohibited around the world, visitors to this prototype shop can experience a potential model for the safe dispensation of drugs.
Recent visitors to the new XTC ‘store’ include the Netherlands’ Health Minister, Ernst Kuipers, who took a look at the replica shop, the creation of the Poppi Drug Museum.
What Could a Regulated Drugs Store Look Like?
The shop presents three different models of how drugs could be sold in a retail outlet, depending on the level and strictness of regulations established by the state.
The most relaxed regulated market could see drugs like ecstasy pills bought from vending machines, with retailers able to have complete creative license on their marketing within the store, as demonstrated in model one.
In this example, the desired pill would be dispensed following completion of a questionnaire and the monetary exchange taking place.
The second model presents a vending machine, bearing the resemblance of a condom vending machine, presenting consumers with three differing options of ecstasy pill, varying in their potency, which can be purchased with coins.
The third – and most realistic – model for regulated, retail drugs (given that this would be a significant gear change for any government relaxing their drug policies) presents the products in a setting similar to pharmaceuticals, with minimal marketing on the packaging.
Would-be consumers are required to complete an extensive questionnaire, with an educational video played before each question is able to be answered, ensuring the prospective purchaser understands all potential risks associated with consumption.
Speaking to The Guardian, Machteld Busz, Director at the Mainline Foundation and one of the driving forces behind the Poppi initiative, said: “MDMA is on the radar because the Netherlands is such a big producer of this drug and it causes a lot of crime and environmental damage. We have a big group of users and the health risks are there. But they are less serious than alcohol, cocaine or heroin, for example.”
Seeking to help drive forward the conversation about how a regulated market for drugs such as MDMA could look in practice, Busz’s ambition was to create “a setting to encourage people to think about what that would look like”.
Busz continued by saying that they “want to figure out what would be an acceptable model for the general public if we would take that policy decision in the Netherlands.”
The model store will be open up until September 29th, with survey results collating the views of visitors analysed and utilised within a research project by Utrecht University. The views will be examined in conjunction of focus group results, with participants made up of members of the police and judiciary.
To explore additional psychedelic content, click here.