Miley Cyrus is being investigated by Dutch police after she appeared to smoke a cannabis joint on stage during the MTV Music Awards in Amsterdam.

The child star-turned-twerking queen sparked fresh controversy when she took what seemed to be a half-smoked joint out of her bag and lit up in front on the 17,000-strong crowd during her acceptance speech for the Best Video award.

"We received complaints about smoking which was also seen on television. We have to investigate," Tjitte Mastenbroek of the National Food and Consumer Authority said.

"We will shortly be meeting the Ziggo Dome's management to check what exactly happened there," he said, referring to the venue.

Authorities will be meeting venue management to discuss what the next step.

Ziggo Dome spokesman Danni Damman admitted that Cyrus lighting up had caught the organisers by surprise.

"It's not easy to interfere in a moment like that," he told AFP.

Although cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands, the country decriminalised possession of less than five grams in 1976.