Newsbrief: Dutch Government Seeks to Ban Cops from Enjoying Coffee Shops 9/12/03

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The conservative Dutch government's interior minister, Johan Remkes, is leading an effort to bar Dutch police officers from enjoying the fare offered in the country's world famous marijuana "coffee shops." The effort comes as Amsterdam police are reeling over a highly publicized drug use scandal, but the police union remains steadfast in opposing any move to keep the cops out of the shops.

In an interview with De Telegraaf (Amsterdam), Remkes said the spectacle of pot-smoking police damaged the force's respectable image and would lead to charges of hypocrisy when police attempted to enforce other drug laws. "A police officer has an exemplary role to fulfill and has to show some authority," Remkes said. "They could be in a difficult position if they have to stop and search people for drugs." Police officers would be banned from the coffee shops whether on or off duty, Remkes added.

Remkes' effort comes in the wake of a widely aired television documentary by investigative journalist Peter de Vries. De Vries found police commanders popping ecstasy, allegations of small-scale dealing among police officers, and stories of doped up cops trashing vacation homes. De Vries' documentary led to the firing of 12 Amsterdam police officers, two of whom claimed that a quarter of the central Amsterdam police use hard drugs.

Remke and his VVD party want to extend the coffee shop ban to other officials, including mayors and government ministers, but first they have to get past the police. And the Dutch police union is standing firm on the coffee shop issue. "Visits to coffee shops are not forbidden, so it is strange that police officers would be barred from going in their free time," a police union spokesman told the Guardian (London).

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Issue #302, 9/12/03 Oops! -- "Killer Ecstasy" Study Retracted, NIDA Credibility on the Line, RAVE Act Still Law | Marijuana as Budget Saver? Study Looks at Implications of Legalization in Massachusetts | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Newsbrief: Human Rights Watch Calls California's Anti-Syringe Laws a Violation of Human Rights, Details Police Harassment of Exchanges | Arianna Huffington Speaks at UC Berkeley SSDP-Volunteer-Organized Event | Newsbrief: Tommy Chong Sentenced to Nine Months on Bong Charges | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: West Africa Drug War -- Business As Usual, Except for the Lizards | Newsbrief: Canadian Cities Federation Stays Firm in Support of Cannabis Decrim | Newsbrief: New Mexico Church Wins Ruling in Ayahuasca Case | Newsbrief: Pakistani Prison Officials Call for Different Treatment of Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: Dutch Government Seeks to Ban Cops from Enjoying Coffee Shops | Newsbrief: Connecticut Democrats to Propose Sentencing Reforms | The Reformer's Calendar

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