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‘It was strange for me to go to the pub’

‘I grew up in an environment where drugs were pretty normalized. My mom has been smoking weed since she was seventeen and never quit smoking. For that reason, we always had some weed laying around the house. When I was about ten years old, I found something that looked a lot like a piece of cake in our fridge. I took a bite. My mother caught me and explained that the cake I was eating were actually edibles. She talked about what could happen and stayed calm. After all, the damage had already been done. I decided to take one of our dogs out for a walk and stayed away for at least six hours.

  Until I turned eighteen, I lived in a completely different world in terms of social standards. For me, going to the pub was strange. The coffee shop was the standard for me; my sister worked there, and my mother was there every other day. I knew just about everyone there, from the regular guests to the bouncers at the door. When I first walked into a pub, I was super nervous. I had no idea how to behave.    

I do understand that my experience with drugs is a lot different than most people. Where someone else thinks it is quite normal to drink whole bottle of wine, I prefer to take a seal of acid. In my opinion, it is not much different from strong alcohol or medication from the hospital. The only difference is that it is viewed differently. Many people are anti-drugs because of the risks. But I do believe that everything has risks involved. It has given me a broader perspective on what we do or do not normalize as a society.  

When I take a closer look at the drug policy in the Netherlands, I think we should not complain at all. We can have our pills tested and can get our joints safely from the coffee shop. Drugs are used in every layer of society, which is something that should not be underestimated. This ranges from the big lawyers in the office to the hobos on the street. I think that only the government is still in denial about this. They can certainly still learn more and take steps forward.’