Drugs policies were introduced to the Netherlands in 1912 in an effort to completely control the use of all drugs. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, the government soon realized that completely eliminating the use of drugs throughout the population was not going to be possible. Therefore, the government decided to educate the its citizens about the effects and consequences of using drugs while also classifying drugs into categories. These categories are known as "hard drugs" and "soft drugs." Hard drugs included drugs such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy. Soft drugs included drugs such as marijuana, hash, and sedatives.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the government wanted to further control the use of drugs and made the use of hard drugs illegal. However, individuals were able to use soft drugs. Coffee shops were also allowed to begin selling soft drugs to their customers. This meant that no individuals under eighteen were allowed in the coffee shops.
This update in the drug policy was meant to decrease the demand for drugs in the Netherlands, decrease the supply of drugs throughout the Netherlands, and decrease the risk of drugs throughout the Netherlands. This policy remains in effect today. Drug policies in the Netherlands are considered among the most liberal drug policies in the world.