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Post-Election, Fate of Dutch "Weed Pass" Uncertain

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #756)
Politics & Advocacy

The conservative Dutch government was all set to introduce the controversial "weed pass" system, in which Dutch citizens would have to register with the government to buy marijuana at the county's famous cannabis cafes or coffee shops and foreigners would be out of luck, nationwide on January 1, but then the government fell in a September election.

Now the leading conservative party, the VVD, is in talks to form a new government with the Labor Party, which opposes the weed pass, and Dutch News is reporting that the two parties are working on a compromise solution. In any case, it looks like nationwide introduction of the weed pass is now dead.

The weed pass system is already in place in selected Dutch border towns, where it was imposed in a bid to stanch the flow of "drug tourists" from more repressive France, Germany, and Belgium. The VVD justice minister, Ivo Opstelten, has described it as "a great success," but there have also been numerous reports of increased street dealing and other prohibition-related nuisances in its wake.

The weed pass system has been strongly opposed by cannabis cafe operators, as well as the administrations of major Dutch cities, such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Weed pass foes organized to get out the vote for left-leaning parties during the brief election campaign, but they may not be happy with the reported compromise solution.

According to Dutch News, the proposed agreement would end the weed pass system for Dutch nationals, but foreigners would not be allowed into the coffee shops. That solution would remove the fear that some Dutch have expressed of being on a government list of marijuana consumers, but would leave foreign visitors to Holland to look for their marijuana on the streets -- one of the very ills the coffee houses were meant to address.

The weed pass issue is one of the few remaining bones of contention between Labor and the VVD. The two parties will have to come up with some sort of compromise on it before they can form a new government.

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.


madmart (not verified)

The weed pass is simply a bad thing for holland I do not see how it is enforceble either in amsterdam and other cities. hopefully it will become a opt in policy at best but ideally scrapped altogether or introduce a different system like the hallmark that haarlem wish to use instead of the pathetic weed pass on the 1st jan 2013
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:14pm Permalink
Nieboh (not verified)

"The VVD justice minister, Ivo Opstelten, has described it as "a great success," but there have also been numerous reports of increased street dealing and other drug-related nuisances in its wake."


Imagine that...introduce prohibition measures and you get an increase in black market dealing. When will people finally admit to the connection?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:21pm Permalink
Bertrand (not verified)

Some 20 years ago, politicians from all over Europe gathered in ... Maastricht to end up with a treaty on free trade and free movement of people within Europe. Since, it is not allowed in any country in Europe to restrict other member state citizens to do/buy/sell what residents are allowed (or something alike!).

Does it mean that "Dutch nationals" should be understood as "Europeans"?

Tue, 10/23/2012 - 6:38pm Permalink

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