Pot grow-ops and related crimes flourish under pot liberalism

Cannabis 'scratch and sniff cards' issued to Dutch citizens
by Coralie Ramon Coralie Ramon, Nov 8, 2010
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AFP) In a novel bid to combat illegal cannabis cultivation, Dutch authorities started handing out 30,000 cards with a marijuana odour Monday to alert citizens to what their neighbours may be up to.

"Citizens must be alerted to the dangers they face as a result of these plantations, and if they become aware of any suspect situations they must report them," Arnie Loos, spokesman for a government-appointed working group on cannabis cultivation, told journalists in the port city of Rotterdam.

Though it remains technically illegal, the Netherlands decriminalised the consumption and possession of under five grammes (0.18 ounces) of cannabis in 1976 under a "tolerance" policy.

Authorities turn a blind eye to citizens growing no more than five plants for personal use. Bulk cannabis cultivation and retail remain illegal and are in the hands of criminal organisations in a black-market business worth some two billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) annually.