Can I see some ID, please? Police discretion in cannabis-related ID checks and stop and searches, and their effect on police legitimacy. An ethnographic study in 2 Belgian police forces.

Project Details


The way police act in their daily police practice against the possession and use of cannabis, the most commonly used illicit drug, is a controversial story, both in the academic - and in the political world. The role and function of the police in the fight against cannabis remains very unclear, both with the police and with the users. Although there is a lot of research into cannabis use and the harms done by cannabis use, research on the polices' attitude towards policing cannabis, as the most important criminal actor in combating cannabis, remains scarce. A number of studies have been carried out abroad, in the US there are studies from Nguyen and Reuter (2012) and Oberweis e.a. (2014) and in the UK there is a study from Hough e.a. (2005). For the time being no research has been done in Belgium. With our research we want to fill this gap. Aside of this, we want to investigate the police attitude towards policing cannabis in the Belgian context. How does the police see its own role, and how should it cultivate legitimacy in relation to policing cannabis? We want to gain understanding in the decision-making process in police officers encounters with civilians leading to an ID check or/and stop and search practice in relation to cannabis possession.
Effective start/end date1/01/1931/12/22


  • Identification

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Civil law


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