Hans Kamperman’s lonely battle

Hans Kamperman is fighting for the decriminalisation of cannabis. Since the beginning of 2018, he has been camping out in front of the parliament building in The Hague. The sad peak of his campaign was a failed suicide attempt.

Many people believe that cannabis is legal in the Netherlands. However, this is a wrong assumption. As part of the so-called “tolerance policy”, the sale and consumption of cannabis is merely tolerated. This also applies to growing up to five plants, provided these are intended for your own consumption. This last point sealed Hans Kamperman’s fate.

Because of five cannabis plants, he has had a ton of trouble on his back since 2016. Kamperman wanted to use the plants to produce oil for cancer patients. But the police put a wrench in the works of his plan. They confiscated the plants and arrested him. In December 2017, the court in Arnhem-Leeuwarden found him guilty.

The sentence did not lead to any punishment, but it did have consequences. Because Kamperman had a previous conviction, he will not be able to travel to Canada for the next five years, where he has invested a lot of money in a nature reserve. His company in Groenlo also suffered along with him as a result of this case.

Kamperman regards himself as more of a fighter than a victim. Although he is of course just that: the victim of an out-of-date cannabis policy, that was pioneering and innovative in 1976, but has not been updated since. Even those who oppose legalisation are not happy with the current situation. Coffeeshops can sell cannabis, but have to purchase their stocks on the flourishing black market. This inherent contradiction in the Dutch drug policy is described as a backdoor issue.

With his campaign, Kamperman wanted to draw the attention of politicians in The Hague to these unhappy circumstances. He came out swinging: “I will not end this campaign until this bizarre policy is changed.” Because he did not achieve this, he took the most extreme measure:

He jumped from the visitors’ gallery in the parliament, after posting a farewell letter on Facebook. Kamperman survived his suicide attempt and was able to leave hospital the next day, but Sensi Seeds is still in shock. It makes us unhappy that Hans Kamperman could not see any other way forward than to take his own life. We cannot endorse his actions, but at the end of the day, we are of course fighting for the same thing.

Are you one of the residents of the Netherlands who wants to see cannabis legalised? Please sign Hans Kamperman’s petition – every signature counts!


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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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