Dutch coffeeshop closed to tourists?

11 09 2009

The Netherlands used to be one of the most progressive countries in the world when it came to softdrugs.

The Dutch policy of regulating rather then prohibiting has obviously worked, as the percentage of regular (soft)drugs user is lower then in almost all european countries and even the United States. The only problem is that cannabis was never actually legalized – in contrary to what many people believe – cannabis is still an illegal substance according to Dutch law. This has led to the unworkable situation where people can buy small amounts at the coffeeshop but the coffeeshops can’t buy their weed legally.

This “decriminalization” policy is a weird situation, but it has worked for years. However, in the past couple of years the political climate seems to be changing. Some elements in the Dutch government are doing everything in their power to stop people from having a bit of fun. In this context it means closing many coffeeshops, having coffeeshops owners choose between their liquor licence and their “coffeeshop” licence and now even closing most coffeeshops for tourist.

The proposal that will be discussed in parliament today is that of a members-only policy for all coffeeshops and tourists are only allowed in the larger coffeeshops. It is not exactly clear yet what this means for Amsterdam and other major cities, but it is another giant leap in the wrong direction. The Dutch government will put forward a new bill somewhere in the coming months which will (hopefully) give more clarity on how the future is going to look.

All we know is that if this proposal is actually going to come into effect it will cause more problems then it will solve.

Source: nrc.nl





Dutch police to crack down on cannabis export

22 10 2008

Source: NRC.nl Photo: Flip Fransen

Last saturday the Dutch newspaper NRC handelsblad published an interview with the head of the Dutch cannabis task force Max Daniel. Obviously the original interview in the newspaper was in Dutch, however NRC has been so kind to provide an version for their English audience.

This interview is very interesting because it seems to hold a negative opinion about cannabis and the way the Dutch decriminalisation system works. By doing so however, it presents an excellent case for the legalisation of cannabis.

Mr. Daniel points out in this interview that the Dutch cannabis trade is largely controlled by organised crime and that he is planning to crack down on these organisations. At the same time he also points out that it is not his intention to close any of the coffeeshops.

As many of you may know coffeeshops are allowed to sell a maximum of 5 grams of cannabis per person to the consumer. At the same time the supply side of these coffeeshops is still illegal. As Mr. Daniel emphasises he wants to stop criminals at the supply side of the cofffeeshop. How is he going to achieve this without closing the coffeeshops? There seems to be somewhat of a contradiction in his statements?

There is only one way to achieve this and that is to fully regulate the market, both supply to and from coffeeshops should be legal and regulated, this is the only way to effectively prevent criminal organisations from taking part in the cannabis trade in the Netherlands.

Another interesting point is the figure below on Dutch cannabis exports. How do they estimate this figure? Are all the tourist that buy cannabis in a coffeeshop and smoke it in the Netherlands included in these export figures? If they are not, they should be, as by definition this is export too. Does that mean the Dutch government, who taxes the sales in coffeeshops, is part of this “criminal” conspiracy to export Cannabis?

Police to crack down on cannabis export

Source: NRC.nl Published: 20 October 2008

Dutch cannabis growers earn around 2 billion euros from exporting marijuana to the rest of the world every year, says police commissioner Max Daniel who heads a task force set up by the government this summer. An interview with the police chief who has been appointed to crack down on criminal organisations involved in the illegal trade.

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