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Wednesday 17 December  
Court rejects cannabis policy challenge
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Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Court rejects cannabis policy challenge

Published on : 27 April 2012 - 11:37am | By RNW News Desk (Photo: ANP)
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On Friday, a court in The Hague ruled against 19 coffeeshop owners and other interested parties who are against the introduction of the compulsory ‘weed pass’. The pass will mean that ‘coffeeshops’ – outlets which are allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis to the public - will have to become private clubs, whose members have to be Dutch residents. Coffeeshops in the south of the Netherlands are going to have to introduce the weed pass on 1 May.

Immediately after the ruling, lawyer Maurice Veldman announced that he intends to appeal. The coffeeshop owners believe the weed pass will force them to violate the privacy of their customers, who would have to give private details in order to become members.

No discrimination
The court ruled that the legislation does not discriminate and is not disproportionately strict. The ruling pointed out that many more important interests are involved in coffeeshop policy and that the coffeeshop owners’ objections were “not relevant” when considering the legality of the policy.

The court argued that the new policy is intended to reduce drugs tourism and crime: this aim is so important that the government has the right to implement far-reaching measures.

In addition, the ruling states, the government regulates its coffeeshop policy at national and not local level. The coffeeshop owners had not proved that less far-reaching measures would have the same effect as those which are to be implemented in the south of the Netherlands on 1 May.

As of 2013, the new legislation will apply to the entire country. Coffeeshops that refuse to abide by the new law, risk being closed.

(hs/mw)

Discussion

Anonymous 4 May 2012 - 9:26pm / Belgium

I no longer feel safe traveling to Holland to buy my medicine. I wasn't aware of this new law and was very surprised when I went to my regular location and was rushed by a group of young Turkish men trying to sell me the stuff on the street and blocking me when I tried to pass them. To the point of forming a wall so that I couldn't pass. I unfortunately only speak English/Spanish/Italian which none of them spoke. I'm 55 years old I don't need this shit.

Marco Marboni 27 April 2012 - 7:14pm / UK

A legislation that only promotes illegal trading. The street dealers must be rejoicing and rubbing their hands together at this outcome. The end of tolerance in the Netherlands.

Anonymous 27 April 2012 - 6:44pm

ukyfukygf gugp 9puyp8uy

anonymous 27 April 2012 - 5:48pm / UK

What a sad day for the Dutch economy and tourism. Me and my friends who used to go to Assen and stopped off for a few days in Amsterdam and Harlem for their excellent coffee shops and quality controlled hashish and marihuana will be thinking twice whether to spend our hard earned cash there.
This measure will put people on to the streets were they come in contact with hard drugs, not a good prospect to have more dealers on the street and not something the proponents of this policy would have wanted. Sadly this moralising over peoples decisions reflects Holland's anti tourism and anti immigrant relations with its nationalists and right wing excesses and violence might be the ugly result of this policy.
me and my friends used to spent a lot of cash in Assen and on tour in Holland, I will not bother this time round, and shall bring this regressive policy up at our next meeting of the motorcycle club.

Anonymous 27 April 2012 - 5:36pm

Common sense prevailed in the Hague.

Anonymous 29 April 2012 - 11:51pm

If common sense means machine gun wielding pot dealers all over the place then yes, they did an awsome job! You think the pot will just "go away" all of a sudden? Ever hear of supply and demand?

Anne onymous 27 April 2012 - 1:42pm

It will reduce drug tourism but it will increase crime as cannabis moves back to the streets. The strict limits to membership means there are not enough coffeeshops so even Dutch people will have to buy from the streets, especially those who live in areas where coffeeshops are already not allowed. Amsterdam will be hit the hardest, not only the coffeeshops, but all the tourists shops - who would want to buy a cannabis t-shirt or fridge magnet anymore? In these times of austerity this new law is absurd! The day I get turned away from a coffeeshop because I am not Dutch, will be the day I stop speaking Dutch altogether.

Alun Buffry 27 April 2012 - 1:27pm / UK

A coffeeshop, a safe and friendly environment where I could buy good quality, be advised on strength, and smoke in safety.

If this ban comes into effect, I guess I and others will be the targets of street drug dealers again, dealers that often may offer hard drugs too.

So Dutch streets will see more drug dealers - Dutch economy will see less income - drugs will be associated with crime again.

It seems to me that this proposed ban is just a jobs-creation scheme for street dealers

Anonymous 27 April 2012 - 2:42pm

Yeah what an unbelievable mistake.

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