chapter  3
Characteristics of the cannabis market in Belgium
WithTom Decorte
Pages 11

This chapter describes some characteristics of cannabis supply and attempts to unravel its complex relationship with current government policy. Belgium and the Netherlands not only share a border which is easily crossed in the context of the European Union, but they are also historically connected. Until the late 1960s, cannabis was imported into Belgium from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, and later also from Lebanon and Morocco. Meanwhile, investigation and detection techniques in Belgium, as in other countries, had become Americanised, inspired by the US ‘War on Drugs.’ The increase in domestic cultivation was aided by the existence of ‘coffee shops’, where the selling of cannabis for personal consumption by the public has been tolerated by the local authorities under the drug policy of the Netherlands since 1976. The expansion of cannabis cultivation in Belgium appears to be partly a consequence of the stricter treatment to which cannabis cultivation has been subjected in the Netherlands.