The Dutch government presents: The Weedpass

18 11 2011

As of January 1, 2012, the weedpass will be introduced, bringing a new wave of street dealers, more accessible hard drugs and increased health risks! It’s already happening in the South regions of the Netherlands! Brought to you by the Dutch government.
Maastricht: 28 days later …Maastricht

Less than a month after the introduction of the weedpass in the city of Maastricht, a Belgian journalist has reported the effects that many people (including experts) predicted: a revival of the black market in the capital of Limburg. The weedpass prevents anyone not of Belgian, Dutch or German nationality from entering coffeeshops and safely buying cannabis.

Street dealers now invite tourists discriminated against by the weedpass, mainly the French, to come and buy cannabis in apartments. Often this is a scam to sell poor quality marijuana at high prices. Large scale organized crime operations, which also provide marijuana to coffeeshops, make a double killing by offering other drugs such as LSD, Ecstasy or speed to tourists who are just looking for cannabis. The overall price of cannabis is increasing, including in the coffeeshops, because the unregulated black market causes an increase in demand. As a consequence some tourists resort to products which (although nothing like cannabis) are authorized for sale, such as hallucinogenic truffles, freely sold in smartshops to everyone, regardless of nationality.

The weedpass is a massive blow to the local economy

Many critics have also focused on the economic impact of such a measure. A study commissioned by the VOCM (Official Club Maastricht Coffeeshops ) reported figures that should make the city council think twice. The study, reported by De Telegraaf, found that the pass will cost 30 million euros to the city of Maastricht alone, and mean the loss of 345 full-time jobs! In the end the only real winners in this story are the criminals who see an exploding market opening up while honest workers lose their jobs, and suffer the consequences of the decisions of their elected representatives.

An expected and tangible effect of the weedpass

In just one month, many of the negative effects of the weedpass predicted by the experts are proven verifiable. The black market re-emerges into the open with dealers and drug touts even more determined to provide for the tourists who, thanks to the weedpass, are now forced into obtaining cannabis illegally.

The experts may have given good objective advice on the issue, but the government continues to ignore them. The Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) will vote this month on an amendment to the Opium Act, giving individual area councils the power to override the rules of the Opium Act and bring in stricter regulations of their own. This measure, intended to continue the current policy of reducing harm associated with drug tourism, will only increase the problems for tourists and residents alike.

Although the positive effects of the tolerance policy are well established, the Dutch government is bending to the will of fellow European countries and becoming more intolerant by the day. This direction is already causing more problems in Maastricht than it might solve. What the government should be doing is putting pressure on fellow countries to adopt a policy proven to work: the provision of safe, regulated places for adults to buy and consume cannabis without discrimination.

 

Sources: De Telegraaf Limburger Contrepoints





The EU back the ban on coffee shops for tourists

22 07 2010

Its name may be synonymous with European unity ‑ but increasingly its coffee shops are not.

Moves by the Dutch border town of Maastricht to ban foreigners from its marijuana cafes have been upheld by the European court, in a rare contravention of EU laws governing free markets and free movement of people.

In response to what it terms an influx of hordes of weed-seeking tourists, mainly from Belgium and France, Maastricht decided to limit admission to coffee shops to Dutch residents only. Every day, some 4,000 tourists in search of the perfect smoke enter Maastricht, according to the major of the town. Some 70% of the town’s coffee-shop customers come from across the border.

Marc Josemans, owner and chairman of the Association of Official Maastricht Coffee Shops, brought a legal challenge before the Dutch council of state, arguing that a ban contravenes European legislation on free movement and free trade in goods and services within the EU. The council asked the European court of justice for its interpretation of EU law, which it will then employ in its ruling expected at the end of this year.

In his finding, the EU court’s advocate general, Yve Bot, said that narcotics do not count as regular goods because they are against the law. “Narcotics, including cannabis, are not goods like others and their sale does not benefit from the freedoms of movement guaranteed by European Union law, inasmuch as their sale is unlawful,” he said.

He did add however that in cases of their medical or scientific use, marijuana does “come under internal market rules”.

The court said that Maastricht was right to view drug tourism as “a genuine and sufficiently serious threat to public order”, and thus the restriction of foreigners from coffee shops “constitutes a measure necessary to protect the residents of the municipality from trouble”.

The finding concluded by saying that backpackers descending upon the Netherlands for a weekend of exuberance and oblivion endangered the European Union’s security. “Drug tourism, in so far as it conceals, in actual fact, international trade in narcotics and fuels organised criminal activities, threatens even the European Union’s internal security,” it said.

Author: Leigh Phillips

Source: The Guardian





The municipality of Maastricht on the Dutch drug policy

25 06 2008

The municipality of Maastricht (city in the south of the Netherlands) have posted a very good article about the Dutch drug policy on their website. Click here to read the whole article.

The Netherlands’ policy is good for public health because it results in relatively few cannabis users and only a small percentage who switch to hard drugs. It is bad for society as a whole because production and distribution are in the hands of organised crime.

We can combat that by controlling not only the sale and consumption of cannabis, but also its cultivation and distribution, subject to strict conditions. Read the rest of this entry »








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