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Netherlands PM touts benefits of cannabis legalisation during press conference with Jacinda Ardern

Speaking to media alongside Jacinda Ardern today, Netherlands PM Mark Rutte described the impact that allowing cannabis for recreational use had on his country's drug market. 

The Netherlands essentially decriminalised cannabis use in the 1970s, but Mr Rutte said the country took "rigorous action" against hard drugs.

He said this resulted in a separation of the soft and hard drug markets, and caused cannabis users to not be "obligated to buy their soft drugs from criminal dealers who might easily bring them into contact with hard drugs". 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Rutte said they had seen smaller numbers of young people moving to use hard drugs, and now only residents of the Netherlands are able to visit the coffee shops to consume cannabis. 

New Zealand is set to vote on legalising cannabis during next year's election.

Mr Rutte is in New Zealand to "further strengthen our warm relationship with the Netherlands", said Ms Ardern. She also was set to discuss climate change, transitioning to a low-emissions economy and trade. 

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Kiwis may soon be able to grow the plant legally in their own backyards. Source: 1 NEWS

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Mark Rutte said it separated the soft drug market from the hard drug market. Source: 1 NEWS