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Dutch coffeeshops close in protest over weed pass and stoner registration

By Alfa, May 1, 2012 | Updated: May 1, 2012 | | |
  1. Alfa
    The coffeeshops in the city of Maastricht have closed down today, as they are only allowed to sell to Dutch nationals, who are willing to register themselves as coffeeshop member. The coffeeshop owners claim that they can not abide to the laws against discrimination, privacy, while also abide to the rules of the weed pass.

    View attachment 25965
    The weed pass is meant to stop sales to foreigners and to limit sales to only 2000 customers per coffeeshops.

    Instead of accepting customers, they are sending their customers to the police station to file charges against the municipality for discrimination. The Mayor of Maastricht is upset about the ordeal.

    The coffeeshop owners state that no one wants to register to the national stoner registry, and therefore they can no longer sell cannabis. its unclear when the coffeeshops will open again.

    Two coffeeshops have stayed open to receive a formal warning. The coffeeshop owners intend to cause a court case over the legality of the weed pass. One of these: Toermalijn in Tilburg, has been closed by the police for selling to tourists.

    The Christian democrats see the weed pass as a first step to closing down all coffeeshops.
    Dutch coffeeshops sell an estimated 2 billion in cannabis per year. Without coffeeshops, these cannabis sales will move from the coffeeshops to street dealers. Police in the Netherlands and Belgium fear the consequences.


    Protests in the streets of Maastricht. Photo: WFA

    Article Source: www.drugs-forum.com

Comments

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    I heard on German television (ARD) this afternoon, that the weed pass -and the subsequent forbiddance to sell to non-dutch is coming into effect in all provinces bordering Belgium and Germany.

    Does anybody feel like this could have an effect on drug-tourism? I mean, the Netherlands are not really that big...
    Other coffeeshops could jump in to fulfil the strangers' wishes.

    I deem it very good to send the customers to police to file charges. Hopefully some courts will actually judge against this discriminatory administrative edict.

    What I have not fully understood is whether the coffeeshop owners are against the registration of cannabis users only, or do they protest against the whole edict including the banning of alien customers?

    TBBW
  2. mersann
    Of course they are against that, because in many coffeshops, foreign people make up for more than half of the revenue. There are plenty of coffeeshops in the border area (and that's where Maastricht is) that basically only exist for German / Belgian customers.
  3. beentheredonethatagain
    If each coffeshop is allowed to sell to only 2,000 members, then say of that 2,000 only 1,000 are regular customers, they are losing bank. So I would imagine that the owners fear a huge revenue loss.
    aswell as other commerece that cater to the cannabis tourism, restaurants, hotels, and of course coffeshops, and smartshops
  4. scartissue_68
    Drug tourism is big business. It seems that Portugal would pick-up the slack and capitalize on the Netherlands giving up 2 billion in pot-related tourism revenue. In Portugal everything has been decriminalized.

    Perhaps someone with knowledge of European Politics can explain who are the Christian Democrats and what is their motivation for trying to kill the Golden Bud in the Netherlands.

    In the US, it would be the fundamentalist conservative religions that would be trying to stop the sinners for their own good. US political parties are forbidden to tie themselves to a religious philosophy/title (although religion plays a big role in US politics).

    There is no example I can think of where prohibiting drug use (including ethanol) ever worked to the benefit of the society trying to protect people from themselves concerning psychoactive substances.

    The US is a perfect example of this lunacy. In the US, half of our prison population is there for some drug-related offense. Why would the Netherlands want to follow the extremely flawed US model of re-criminalization over responsible use of cannabis or treatment for more addictive substances?

    No Illuminati/Knights Templer conspiracy theories, please. I'm legitimately curious about European politics.
  5. mersann
    Christian Democrats are typically conservative groups in Europe (I am specifically talking about Germany, but from what I know, it's similar in other Central/Western European countries), although the actual relevance of Christianity is probably way lower than for, say, the Republican party in the US. The name is in many cases more of a remnant and Christianity only comes into play when they need to get support from some particularly conservative/religious groups.

    Also note that the European party spectra are somewhat more left-wing than the US spectrum in general (probably in part related to the fact that there are more than two relevant parties in most countries), so that many of those Christian Democrats would probably rather be Democrats than Republicans in the US. In many countries (in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, France e.g.), there are parties that are often called right-populist or right-extremist that are more extremely right wing and law-and-order style (probably corresponding to some wings in the Republican party), and these parties are right from the Christian Democrats. The Dutch government that has most recently failed, included the Christian Democrats and the PVV, the Dutch right-populist party. These parties are typically against all kinds of real decriminalisation and legalisation of drugs.

    The more left-wing parties act differently with regard to drugs -- in Germany, you get both the Social Democrats and the Green party (both considered somewhat more left-wing, although the German Christian democrats, the Green party and the Social Democrats have become somewhat similar in recent years) sometimes advocating for decriminalisation of Cannabis to a certain extent, or no prosecution for low amounts of possession of drugs. Typically, they don't really act on anything when they are in power, though. In Portugal, however, as you can see, decriminalisation made it through, and in the Netherlands, the left-wing parties also are/were in favour of keeping the coffeeshops. With the government having failed there, it will be interesting to see what happens.

    I tried to give you a somewhat objective overview, lol. Obviously, now people will probably start disagreeing with me, since the situation really varies from country to country, and also, obviously, I have my own political opinions, and disagree with the political decisions actually made more often than not -- well, I guess that will always remain an issue with politics, lol.
  6. TheBigBadWolf
    mersann,

    I want to thank you very much for this realistic view on politic parties throughout Europe. (So I did not have to, lol).

    Perhaps should be added that the German christian conservatives (CDU) are the leading party in european semi-right-wingers with the leading figure being the German Chancellor, Mrs Merkel.
    Christian Democrats over europe tightly appease to what Merkel says and does, thus leading to loss of power, as seen in Netherlands, where they only could stay on top by allying with right-populistics.

    In France, the Socialist (Social Democrat would be way better said) Hollande seems to become president, according to the numbers in media, so Mrs Merkel will probably lose her tightest companion (who on the other hand always cocurred for the leading role.

    I once read over politc parties in US that: Democrats or Republicans are like Twiddelidee and Twiddelidum, can't really say from here whether that comes near truth,-
    European Parties are a bit more differenciating, years ago parts of German Social Democrats (SPD) joined a party more to the left (today: Die Linke) because of differences in views on what is social democratic politics.
    This was only an example how dynamic european parties can be, nothing like a static traditional left-right controversy.

    TBBW

    Workers of the world, accelerate!
  7. C.D.rose
    I agree with most of what's been said so far.

    There's a thing I would like to add though, even if some members - including Alfa - will disagree with me on that one: in my opinion, cannabis prohibition is not a "Christian thing". By that I mean, the existence and the strength of Christian-democratic parties in European societies cannot serve as a predictor of a repressive cannabis policy in place in those countries. Take France: here you have one of the most staunchly secular countries in Europe, and probably in the world. No major party tries to infuse religion in the public discourse, and this includes Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party UMP. Yet, France has one of the most repressive cannabis policies in Europe. Or take Sweden: depending on how the question is worded, a majority or even a huge majority of Swedes declare themselves to be atheists. Yet, Sweden too has a pretty repressive cannabis policy in place.

    I think that conservative parties have sort of "absorbed" cannabis prohibition in their programs because they were simply the ideologically nearest to it. And I don't even think that there is a huge difference on that issue between Christian-Democrats and social-democrats. The Netherlands may be an exception there. That's why the slight turn to the left that Europe is seeing right now will not bring any change to the cannabis policies in most countries. It may just be enough, however, to prevent a deterioration of the situation in the Netherlands.
  8. TheBigBadWolf
    C.D.,

    Although I fear it might lead the thread astray when I answer on your post I have to.

    The so called Christian Democratic Parties have nothing to do with christianity. Like mersann above pointed out they have these names only for historical reasons. To get deeper into this would really bust the frame of this here discussion about cannabis politics.

    Even when France is a deeply secular country, politically, it is not true that belief is held out of politics.

    This is mostly done by the Front Nationale (populistic extreme right-wing, for the out-of-europeans), confronting "christian occidental culture" of the "french" French population against the "muslim immigrant influence" of arabian originating French.
    Fearmongering fascists,--like we sadly know them everywhere in Europe.

    Enuff of this, sorry for the off-topic post.

    TBBW

    EDIT:

    Have the protests yet come to an effect with getting courts involved ?
  9. scartissue_68
    Many thanks to all our European friends who added political context to this issue.

    American politics, in relation to the status of cannabis, is a battle between states rights and medicinal qualities.

    It is of no good use for Europeans to believe Republicans are conservative and conservatives are mostly anti-med MJ. You may say the same of Democrats. Yes, there are litmus test issues that define political ideology, but I'm afraid our government has become one big pile of mush with no clear delineation between our only two parties. Cannabis laws are a good example. It is the individual states that have shown courage in allowing open cannabis distribution. But, that can all go away with a Federal crackdown similar to the change of political winds as witnessed in the Netherlands.

    ST_68
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