Weed pass kicks in 1 May, for NL residents only
Some 19 coffee shops and several interest groups went to court to fight the government’s plan to introduce a ‘weed pass’ to prevent foreigners (actually, non-residents of the Netherlands) to buy marijuana at coffee shops and lost. The weed pass will come into force on 1 May in the southern provinces and eventually be rolled out throughout the country. The lawyers representing the coffee shops plan to appeal the decision, and even the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard Van der Laan is opposed to the pass and wants to work out a compromise.
Besides the fact that coffee shops in big cities are major tourist attractions, they felt they were being forced to discriminate against certain clients, as a weed pass can only be obtained in the city where one resides. Collecting personal information about clients brings up a lot of privacy issues as well.
The original plan was to stop drug tourism in border regions like in Maastricht, but that doesn’t apply at all to cities like Amsterdam. Coffee shops will basically become private clubs with membership open only to Dutch residents and limited to 2,000 per shop.
Discriminating between EU citizens on the basis of where they live is apparently illegal, making coffee shop owners responsible for drug enforcement sound like a burden, and who’s to stop me for going into a coffee shop and buying joints for somebody else? I don’t see the point of this, besides the government owning a database of people who smoke marijuana. I think drug dealers will make a small fortune selling bad quality weed to tourists and I don’t see how that looks like stopping criminality.
In the mean time, the people who can’t be bothered to get a pass down south will buy their drugs up north or start growing more of their own, which is perfectly OK as long as it’s limited to a few plants.
And for the record, smoking marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands, but it is tolerated.
Here’s a famous Dutch song about ‘nederwiet’ (Dutch weed) by megastars Doe Maar: