Justice ministry manipulated studies into cannabis policy

Officials deleted research questions, made notes in the margins of the study and removed an entire chapter with conclusions and recommendations on how government policy could be improved
Dutch News (Netherlands)
Thursday, December 7, 2017

Senior justice ministry officials directly interfered with independent research into the ministry’s own cannabis policy, current affairs programme Nieuwsuur said. Researchers altered unwelcome conclusions and reformulated research questions at officials’ request. The aim was to manipulate the findings to ensure they supported existing policy rather than criticised it. Nieuwsuur based its findings on conversations with a whistleblower, who made a complaint in 2014, and on internal ministry documents. The programme looked at research carried out by the ministry’s independent research unit WODC into coffee shops and nuisance caused by drugs tourism and on the legalisation of cannabis cultivation. (See also: Dutch officials influence results of independent research: report)