No more weed pass, but registering patrons remains
Many people thought that a weed pass for NL residents only implemented earlier this year was not going to make it nationally on January 2013 — and they were right. After forced down the throats of the provinces of Zeeland, Brabant and Limburg, giving other provinces an unfair business advantage, the cities of Haarlem and Amsterdam in North Holland started poking holes in the legislation, finally watering it down. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten scrapped the plans and has decided to let municipalities deal with it locally.
Asking a coffeeshop owner to keep a database of weed smokers already raised privacy issues as did a legitimate business refusing customers based on their nationality and residence status. Now that bigger cities with more tourists have said they can’t be bothered to burden coffeeshops with screening clients, some NL residents will still have to prove their status to buy weed by way of a proof of residence document obtained at city hall, which costs some 10-12 euro.
Since such a document is only valid for a few months, the law would imply that smokers have to continuously stand in line and pay to get this document in order to continue to buy weed, which sounds like a bureaucratic waste of time. As well, some argue, it means the city knows you smoke weed legally, while ordinary smokers, fans of prostitutes or alcoholics, also legal habits, don’t have to register themselves anywhere.
Regardless, it was all a big waste of time and we’re back to square one seven months down the road.