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Haarlem Cannabis Cafes Reject Dutch-Only Member Passes

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #722)
Politics & Advocacy

All 16 cannabis coffee shops in the city of Haarlem have united in opposition to the Dutch government's "Weed Pass" program, which would bar foreigners from entry to the coffee shops and make the coffee shops "members only" for Dutch citizens. The plan foresees placing a cap on the number of members each coffee shop could have.

Haarlem, The Netherlands (
The conservative coalition governing the Netherlands doesn't like marijuana. It has created the Weed Pass program first as a measure to reduce "drug tourism" in Dutch border cities, and second as a means of restricting coffee shop numbers within the county. It was supposed to be rolled out in the border towns in January, but has been delayed until May, and is supposed to go nationwide next year, despite objections from, among others, the city of Amsterdam.

The Haarlem coffee shop owners, unified as Team Haarlems' Coffeeshopentrepreneurs (THC), announced Friday that they "have decided not to comply with the new criteria for tolerated coffee shops, like registering Dutch citizens as cannabis users, and discriminating against all non-Dutch coffee shop visitors."

The Weed Pass plan would bankrupt their businesses and lead to increases in street drug dealing and personal marijuana cultivation, the association warned. It cited the results of a poll of 700 coffee shop patrons it had conducted.

That poll found that only 12.4% of participants would register under the Weed Pass program. Nearly 63% said they would buy marijuana on the black market, while 21.7% said they would grow their own instead.

If coffee shops lost nearly 90% of their clientele, they would go broke, so complying with the Weed Pass "is simply no option," the association said. Closing up shop would result in the loss of about 90 "budtender" jobs in the city, they added.

"We cannot beat bankruptcy, so our staff, customers and ourselves are ready to start a struggle with Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, before our civilized city will be divided in working areas for street dealers and drug runners," the association vowed.

Haarlem is a city of about 150,000 people just west of Amsterdam and on the northern fringe of the Randstad, a conurbation of 7.1 million people, that includes Amsterdam, The Hague,  Rotterdam, and Utrecht, and is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe.

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Paul Pot (not verified)

Stand up for your right!

The EU constitution has an interesting section on human rights and especially on economic rights that could be used to defend a responsible cannabis industry.
Mon, 02/20/2012 - 2:05am Permalink
Paul McKannon (not verified)

But you should not have the right to force others to adopt your lifestyle as in give up using marijuana. If you want "to start a new life" and not use pot, that should be entirely up to you. Not "everyone" shares your drug-free vision. That is up to them. Freedom and rights, that is the issue here. You equate cannabis with "other stuff" and refer to use of this plant God created for our benefit as drug addiction. You are the one who needs to get a life, pal. And here's a tip for you to start that new life: get off the crack, as in the one on your backside into which your head seems to be firmly planted.

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 1:04pm Permalink

What were you addicted to?  I've used cannabis daily for years.  If, for some reason, I need to stop for a while, it's not a big deal.  I might have a couple of days of low appetite and disturbed sleep.  I've quit for weeks, months, and years without experiencing cravings.

Placed on a ranking of addictive substances, cannabis sits somewhere below coffee.  I'd be embarrassed to say I was a "cannabis addict".

Thu, 02/23/2012 - 9:50pm Permalink
Random dude (not verified)

Neil, you're not addicted to weed. You ever suck dick for weed. Ya I didn't think so. "You and your friend" need to promote your lame web site elsewhere. That said, Bravo to the Dutch resistance!!! Good for you all!

Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:34am Permalink
madmart (not verified)

one thing im finding confusing at the moment is the laws in the south, im from the uk im landing in amsterdam soon or travelling to holland via eurostar if i bought some weed from amsterdam or den haag and travelled down to the south for sightseeing etc if i was stopped by police for some reason and was searched would they take my weed off me or fine me or is that just for people caught buying weed on the street ? hope things are moving closer to the removal of this silly weed pass law now. its not working so why continue with it. !!!

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 3:15am Permalink

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