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Europe: Dutch Government to Fund Membership Card Scheme for Maastricht Coffee Shops

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #599)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

In a bid to stop the flow of tens of thousands of Belgian, French, and German marijuana consumers into Dutch border town cannabis coffee shops, the Dutch government announced this week that is investing 150,000 Euros ($213,000) in a pilot membership card program for coffee shop clients in Maastricht. The program was first proposed earlier this year by Maastricht Mayor Gerd Leers.

downstairs of a coffee shop, Maastricht (courtesy Wikimedia)
The foreign marijuana consumers have caused various public safety and public nuisance problems, from congested automobile traffic to public urination and attracting street drug dealers. At least two other Limburg province border towns, Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom, have responded to the problem by saying they will close down all their coffee shops.

Under the membership card scheme, only card-carrying coffee shop members could purchase cannabis, and purchased would be limited to three or five grams a day. Such a move would presumably deflate the number of "impulse" drug tourists.

There are about 700 cannabis coffee shops in Holland. While the Dutch federal government is hostile toward them, it has committed not to act against them before the 2010 elections. That leaves efforts to reduce their numbers or otherwise restrict them in the hands of local officials.

The federal government is also spending about $7 million for various local councils to address various problems associated with coffee shops, where users can purchase up to five grams of cannabis without fear of arrest. Ministers want to reduce the number of large coffee shops and reduce the involvement of organized crime.

But that latter problem is largely an artifact of Holland's half-baked approach to marijuana. While the Dutch allow the possession and sale of small amounts of cannabis through the coffee shop system, they have made no provision for a regulated supply of cannabis for the coffee shops, leaving it to the black market.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Alfonso Marzocchi (not verified)

The real problem of Holland and all the Netherlands is that they are pratically almost the only place in the world where smoking cannabis is pratically legal , so lots of people - me included - go there increasing the business but also confusion caos and mass of people , and sometimes crime and other problems . And more , too many coffeshops are really of bad taste and noisy . If at least in Europe there would be one coffeshop each more or less 30.000 inhabitants , dutch people could afford better this situation . Forbidding to anyone to use freely of his own body ( avoiding to arm the others , of course ) means to want the control and the property of other 's bodies , thing that should and must be very hardly punished because man is born free or anyhow wants to live free .

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:22pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Alfonso Marzocchi (not verified)

Alfonso, are you related to Ottavio Marzocchi of the Radical Party, or do you just share a last name? We have worked extensively with the Radicali -- visit to read about the conference we did together, or go to our YouTube page at where we have most of the footage.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:32pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

Please remember that with a dirt-cheap long-stemmed one-hitter you can "semivaporize" single tokes of 25-mg. each, or 40 PER GRAM.

Semivaporize means hold the light below the crater opening so it heats but does not immediately ignite the sifted herb contents. This may mean two or more ten-second draws per 25-mg. loading. (A long flexible drawtube will help you see what you're doing when you sublight up, and give vapors and smoke time to cool down before inhaling.)

Any particles that catch on fire have already dried out, yielding their THC, and now have the function of heating yet unburnt adjacent ones.

After each toke, breathe in and out of a Breathmoisturebonnet (1-liter bag) to snag any remaining untranssorbed THC and remoisten your trachea. Eat the ashes (nutritious mineral content).

True cannabis activists get lots of LEAP = Long-term Episodic Associative Performance memory, alias Creative Paranoia, out of one (1) toke, so 200 can be distributed among a large party. (I don't know the policy on whether they furnish cannisters to take some home to the dog.)

Fri, 08/28/2009 - 6:18pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The Netherlands and their semi legal drug policy has been the one shining light in a world of drug war insanity.That this seems to be falling apart,regardless the reasons,is going to be used as an example of the folly of legal drugs even though the drugs were never legal and the black market was always involved.The forces that oppose the legalization of all drugs will sight this as what will happen if drugs are "legal"anywhere.The facts are that since the days of the hippie when drugs became a part of the culture,the argument became mute.Looking at the insanity that has been unleashed on the US over something as simple and benign as health care reform has confirmed my fears that no matter how clear and concise the case for legalization,nothing will convince the lunatic fringe.These people are self destructive without the consciousness to realize their folly.They get their happiness by putting down others.They fear that which they do not understand and hate those that do what they fear.I will continue to enjoy my drugs and if I should fall to the man,again,I'll enjoy my drugs in jail.I no longer look for sanity from the US.You don't even respect the border of your neighbors.

Wed, 09/09/2009 - 6:41am Permalink
spam3234 (not verified)

Where do I sign up for a membership card? Are they limited to Dutch citizens? Is there an enrollment fee?

Thu, 01/07/2010 - 7:28pm Permalink

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