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  1. catseye
    AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, July 9 (UPI) -- The introduction of a "weed pass" in three Dutch provinces has resulted in an increase in illegal street sales of marijuana, researchers said.

    The pass, introduced in May, is a mandatory membership card for people wishing to purchase marijuana in coffee shops in the Netherlands.

    It is meant to keep tourists from countries including Germany, Belgium and France from purchasing the drug at coffee shops, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported Monday.

    Researchers Nicole Maalste and Rutger Jan Hebben, in a study commissioned by Epicurus, a private foundation, tracked the effect of the weed pass and said they found the emergence of a large network of illegal street-sellers of marijuana and other drugs.

    "We want cities and towns in the rest of the Netherlands to know what they can expect when the weed pass rules take effect there," said Maalste, a senior researcher at the University of Tilburg, referring to the government's intention of using the weed pass throughout the country.

    The study found that illegal dealers are selling more than just marijuana, "raising the risk that young people buying cannabis will come into contact with hard drugs."

    (no author credited)
    July 9, 2012



  1. C.D.rose
    Interesting article, even if relatively short. I didn't think they would be able to come up with presentable results so quickly. Of course, one should take a look at this Epicurus foundation that provided funding for the study to check whether they actually have an interest in publishing results like those. Still, as you say, not a big surprise.

    For members not closely following Dutch politics, it's also worth noting that, after Prime Minister Rutte's minority government lost its support by the PVV, there will be legislative elections in the Netherlands at the end of the summer. The question of cannabis will not dominate the campaigns, which will certainly focus on the economic troubles and the crisis of the Euro, but even if it'll just be a minor issue, at least the big parties will probably have to reveal their stance. I think that'll be interesting to watch.
  2. Alfa
    Currently Dutch politicians stubbornly try to uphold the image that the Weed pass is a success. These are mainly the Christian democrats, who have been trying to damage and close as many coffeeshops as possible.

    The Dutch and tourists have been accustomed to free sales of cannabis for over 35 years. The Dutch are not willing to register themselves to a national database of drug users, in order to get cannabis. They rather buy cannabis on the street or grow the plants themselves. After all the possession of 5 plants is still legal and growing larger quantities means significant income.

    The Dutch economy is largely dependent upon direct and indirect income from cannabis sales, as the underground economy plays a large role. The exact influence is not known, but studies have concluded that the last recession did not hit The Netherlands hard, due to the underground economy.
    Its already very obvious that a very large percentage of Dutch tourists are drug tourists, who also spend a lot of money on the rest of the economy. From hotels, to restaurants, to shops.
    With the introduction of the weed pass, its painfully obvious how much this factor has been undervalued. Many cities in the south are frequently described as ghost towns, compared to how busy and thriving they were.

    There are massive lay-offs going on already. The fast food industry is already taking some hard blows. Its only a matter of time before we will see the economy of Southern Netherlands struggle and stores close down.
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