15 July – 29 September: XTC-SHOP in Utrecht
Image the government would regulate the production and sale of ecstasy. Could anyone buy their pills anywhere? Or would there be an age limit and strict supervision? In Poppi’s xtc-shop, you decide!
Poppi Drugs Museum invites you to participate in this unique public experiment. The xtc-shop is open from July 15 to September 29 in the city center of Utrecht.
Address: Vinkenburgstraat 1-3, Utrecht.
Daily between 13:00 – 18:00
Regulating ecstasy – is this serious?
The policy choice to regulate MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy – is a topical discussion in the Netherlands. In 2019, a large group of well-known Dutch people, scientists and experts called for a rational drug policy – based on facts and less on emotion and morality. A think tank of 18 independent experts examined all policy responses to ecstasy production, trade and consumption. In 2020, they concluded that the regulated production and sale of ecstasy would have the best outcomes on health, public safety and the environment.
The Dutch government decided in 2021 to set up a state commission to investigate the therapeutic applicability of MDMA. Both the city councils of Amsterdam and Utrecht argue in their 2022 coalition agreement for a better balance between repression and regulation of drugs. Amsterdam even wants a pilot with regulated ecstasy. The think tank DenkWerk issued an advisory report in June 2022 in which they argue in favour of regulating ecstasy.
Regulating the production and sale of ecstasy is therefore a serious public debate.
Regulation – how do you do that?
Poppi’s xtc-shop is inspired by the report ‘How to regulate stimulants’ by Transform Drug Policy. This report examines in detail what the regulated production and sale of ecstasy might look like. The basics: gaining more control over a – currently – illegal market. Regulation gives the government a grip on production: via quality control and certification. But also by setting conditions for waste management. Regulating ecstasy means that the government can also supervise sale:s rules can be set regarding maximum quantities, health education, training of personnel, and safe packaging. In short: if ecstasy is regulated, the state gains influence over the market.
The visitors to the xtc-shop not only get a preview into a future in which ecstasy is regulated: they can also contribute ideas about the conditions of its sales. In the xtc-shop, you are guided through three future scenarios where you can buy ecstasy: a specialty store, a pharmacy and a club. As a visitor you determine the rules. Thanks to this public experiment, we can analyse to what extent regulation is acceptable to the general public and what they think regulated sales should ideally look like. In collaboration with Utrecht University, Poppi Drugs Museum harvests the wisdom of the crowd, and then shares the outcomes with politicians.
Is it art?
The xtc-shop contributes to new scientific insights, but does so in a playful way. Art enables us to bring a vision of the future to life. By making a complex social debate concrete and taking it to extremes where needed, we facilitate a conversation. The xtc-shop was built in collaboration with the creative makers Vincent Schoutsen and Corné van der Stelt.
Do you have questions about the xtc-shop? Click here for an answer to the most frequently asked questions we encounter.