Dutch Coffeeshops Closed To Tourists?

22 11 2010

coffeshop signPlans released this month for a pass system to exclude non-residents from Dutch coffeeshops are causing concern amongst cannabis users around the world. Citing the problems of crime and ‘social nuisance’ caused by foreign tourists smoking cannabis, the new and still unstable coalition government wants to make the coffeeshops into private clubs where only adults who live in the Netherlands can become members.

It is currently unclear whether this will be overruled by EU law which prevents discrimination in business trading, or pass on the grounds that the substance being traded is not fully legal and therefore not protected by legislation.

What is clear is that, if implemented, this plan will remove most of the revenue generated by coffeeshops- an estimated €1.8 billion per year- as well as costing many coffeeshop employees their jobs, in the middle of an economic crisis.

However, this plan was first discussed by the government in 2003 and still nothing concrete has been announced. Confidence in the new coalition is not high, with a recent poll showing that only 28% of voters expect it to last a full term.

Shamefully, this plan represents a complete reversal of Holland’s successful tolerance policy which has led to the country having the lowest rates of drug abuse in the developed world.





We declared a war on ourselves, not drugs!

15 06 2010

As the country of origin for the war on drugs, the USA is the perfect example to overview the consequences of such measure.

As some Americans have been, and continue to be, pointing at the utility of such measures, Tony Newmann, communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance gives his view on the conception of drugs:

ALL OF US USE DRUGS, BUT ONLY SOME OF US GO TO JAIL!

Despite a $40 billion a year “war on drugs” that is premised on the goal of creating a “drug-free society,” our country is swimming in drugs.

Most people start using drugs before they even leave the house in the morning.  Yes, that first cup of coffee is what many of us need to start the day.  The next drug that millions of Americans use, sometimes up to 20 times a day, is our nicotine! And then, after a long day of work, many of us head to a local bar or to our refrigerator and pour ourselves a cocktail, ice cold beer or a nice glass of wine.

And I’m just getting started.  There are over 100 million Americans who have used marijuana.  Thirty years after Nancy Reagan told us to “Just Say No,” half of high-school seniors will try marijuana and 75% will try alcohol before they graduate.  And what about the college students who use Ritalin to help them focus and put in long hours at the library? And how about all of the superstar athletes who use performance enhancing substances? What about all of the men ( and women ) who are deeply grateful forthe “little blue pill”? And how about the businessmen who stay up until three in the morning with the help of a “little bump”?

Drugs are so popular because people use them for both pleasure and for pain.  Drugs can be fun.  How many of us enjoy having some drinks and going out dancing? How many of us enjoy a little smoke after a nice dinner with friends? Many people bond with others or find inspiration alone while under the influence of drugs.  On the flip side, many people self-medicate to try to ease the pain in their lives.  How many have us have had too much to drink to drown our sorrows over a breakup or some other painful event? How many of us smoke cigarettes or take prescription drugs to deal with anxiety or stress? Throughout recorded history, people have inevitably altered their consciousness to fall asleep, wake up, deal with stress, and for creative and spiritual purposes.

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