The people over at norml.org have posted a very interesting article on their blog. It starts of with the following quote.
“Coffee Shops Will Disappear Within Two Years… The Netherlands Can’t Continue To Tolerate Existence of Coffee Shops Because Of International Opposition.”
- Henk van de Bunt, Professor of Criminology at Erasmus University (Radio Netherlands, Nov. 10, 2008)
We would like to add to this statement that the Dutch have had international pressure for years on this topic, the real factor is the way the current government chooses to deal with this pressure. It is true that the decriminalisation policy in the Netherlands is hard to sell internationally, but we don’t we understand why. The level of soft- and harddrugs users is very low in the Netherlands compared to other countries, so obviously the policy works, although it is not perfect. There are some forces in the Dutch governement that seem to be determined to get rid of the coffeeshops alltogether.
The rest of the article on norml.org goes as follows:
In the last few weeks, NORML has received numerous inquiries from international and American media, and concerned NORML members, regarding the current and future legal status of The Netherlands’ tolerant and pragmatic cannabis policies. Recent news headlines have concentrated on minority Dutch parties and academics (many of whom have historically opposed the ‘coffee shop’ model) that have been able to persuade coalition government parties (who favor cannabis tolerance) in making two small concessions on where cannabis-selling cafes can be located in the country:
*43 of 228 cannabis-selling cafes in the city of Amsterdam will have to close by the end of 2011 because they are located less than 275 yards from a secondary school. One of the unfortunate victims of this political and zoning concession is the famous Bulldog Café on the Leidseplein.
*In the border city of Maastricht, in an effort to assuage neighboring countries, the city council has voted to remove coffee shops from the center city area (however, allowing them in the suburbs and neighborhoods).