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Dutch "Weed Pass" Plan Hitting Bumps

One week after being rolled out in southern border cannabis cafes, the conservative Dutch government's effort to restrict foreigners from the coffee shops by making them members-only and requiring a "weed pass" for entry is off to a rocky start.

cannabis cafe in Amsterdam (wikimedia.org)
The plan was met last week with street protests and civil disobedience in Maastricht, and this week, numerous coffee shops remain closed there in protest. Meanwhile, the largely Belgian and German "drug tourists" at whom the ban is aimed have responded by simply driving further into Holland to buy their marijuana since the ban is only in place on the border.

Even Dutch police seem less than enthused. Police in Eindhoven said they were still undergoing training on how to check for weed passes, while police in other border towns, such as Den Bosch, Oss, and Uden told Agence France-Presse "cannabis controls are not a priority."

"It takes time to put everything in place," conceded Justice and Safety Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Menten.

Police in Maastricht, the largest city now living under the weed pass regime, have taken a tougher line, shutting down Marc Josemann's Easy Going cannabis café after he flouted the law by selling to foreigners, but at least 14 more cannabis cafes there have also shut down to protest the law as discriminatory and bad for business.

Before flouting the law by selling to foreigners, Josemann's first obeyed the law, refusing to sell to some foreigners, who then, in accordance with his wishes, filed a discrimination against him with local authorities. That complaint became the basis of Josemann's ongoing legal challenge to the law.

"Now, we're going to court," Josemanns told AFP. "We were only waiting for one thing: the municipality to close us down."

Villem Vugs, head of the coffee shop association in Tilburg said that problems blamed on drug tourism -- traffic jams, rowdiness, street dealing -- were largely a Maastricht problem. "The government wants to implement a nationwide solution to address a local problem in Maastricht," he complained. There is "little or no nuisance" from the trade in his city, he added.

The weed pass plan is supposed to go into effect nationwide next year, affecting all 670 cannabis coffee shops in the county, but right now, it only affects 80 cafes in the south. There, the cannabis cafes are only supposed to sell to Dutch residents who have signed up for the weed pass.

Now, the foreign drug tourists are showing up further in the Dutch interior, in cities such as Nijmengen, about 90 miles from Maastricht.

"In recent days, we are spotting cars with Belgian plates in the city center, who are clearly there for the coffee shops," Nijmegen police spokeswoman Florian Vingerhoeds told AFP. "Before, we never saw Belgian plates."

Netherlands
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When money talks...

the political BS will walk. And the Dutch are still pragmatists, despite the Balkenende years. They'll scrap this as soon as they see a ledger showing a lot of red ink. Any buitenlander contemplating a  visit to the Netherlands who's not following the latest developments is going to look elsewhere to spend their euros, dollars, whatnot. And that's going to mean a lot of economic hardship for the border areas.

Pass

It's a move designed to make more tourist money. By prohibiting weed, the Dutch attract tourist dollars from Asia, a market of 4 billion and mostly against drug use in general. They are really desperate for tourist dollars, lest the EU collapse.

With the govt that set this

With the govt that set this problem up going out of business and a new govt to soon come in, this ridiculous weed pass idea can be removed, allowing original rules to remain.

 Perhaps there will also be time and effort to  coordinate all rules and efforts to more finesse and comfortable use, even better than it has been.

 The weed pass is not acceptable to the people and will go.

 Its time in fact for Coffeshops to exist in all countries.  It is not violent & a killer like alcohol or a killer like tobacco, (it does not kill) and has broad benefit instead.

 Ignorant govts are slow to understand provable facts that citizens do know.  This time the people will let the govt know what they think, and that is a lot different to the govt that was.  Their bad idea with weed pass goes out with them, or should do.

Drug dealers don't card

Question. How likely is it that "they" can eliminate Europe's demand for cannabis over the next 10,000 years? 100%? 50%? "it'll never happen"??

Another Question. How many victims are created when an otherwise law-abiding person chooses to relax with a joint after work instead of a beer? 50? 75? NONE??

If we can't end the demand for cannabis (and we obviously can't) then making its supply illegal will achieve nothing but create a massive black market for illegal cannabis. This black market will divert Billions to organized crime and incite violence and corruption as criminal gangs fight to their protect their massive, illegal profits and  market shares (ie EXACTLY like the Mexican drug cartels do today).

If legalization is "essential" for alcohol then why is it "simply not an option" for cannabis when the cannabis prohibition causes the exact same harm that the alcohol prohibition did? This policy of treating cannabis and alcohol different is obviously NOT based on logic. It therefore must be based on ideology.

So one last question for everybody who supports closing the coffeeshops. If your ideology says that marijuana is bad then does it not also say that supporting a failed policy that causes mass murder is also bad? You can't close your eyes to the harm you're creating and then consider yourself a good person!

So remember this after you've closed the coffeeshops and implemented laws that are impossible to repeal (just like the U.S. marijuana prohibition law), "Drug Dealers Don't Card, Supermarkets Do". Did you really want to make your children LESS safe?

asking for problems

since the use of the weedpass there a lot of more problems on the street near coffeeshops as see and hear now more street-dealers near coffeeshops than ever before seeing them in town. sadly about the choice our former goverment made as this means less tourists visit Netherlands, more crime and less jobs. 

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union (EU) citizens and residents, into EU law.

The fifth title covers the rights of the EU citizens such as the right to vote in election to the European Parliament and to move freely within the EU.

Marc Josemans - Easy Going Coffeeshop - Maastricht

wietpas

Dutch coffeeshop owners look to election to kill off 'wietpas' law. lazario

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