20 Jun The Dutch Weedpass: Failure before introduction

THE new Dutch government wants to introduce a Weedpass for coffeeshops, for Dutch citizens only, in order to exclude foreigners from buying cannabis. The reason for this project is to stop the cannabis tourism to the Dutch cities in the border areas near Belgium and Germany.

Justice Minister Opstelten wants to quickly introduce the Weedpass first in the border cities, with the rest of the country following suit, introducing the Weedpass ‘nationwide’.

Nationwide introduction of the Weedpass is impossible, because only 101 of Holland’s’ 441 municipalities allow coffeeshops, the smokers in the 340 villages and towns without coffeeshops have been buying on the black market for decades now. The Weedpass will be for local use only, so the smokers from municipalities without coffeeshops will not be able to apply for the Weedpass, they will keep buying from street dealers, for them, and their suppliers, nothing will change.

The only solution to get rid of the cannabis tourism in our border areas would be the introduction of cannabis outlets in Germany, Belgium, France and the UK, so they do not have to come to Dutch coffeeshops any more. This is not a stupid proposal, and it is no longer forbidden in European politics: http://coffeeshopnews.nl/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=0&func=view&catid=7&id=1195

My guess is the EU came out with this news because of the hype around the Weedpass, and the verdict of the European Court, allowing the Dutch Weedpass technically, because drugs, including cannabis, are considered illegal in EU countries – http://coffeeshopnews.nl/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=0&func=view&catid=7&id=1233

I think this ruling is made by looking at EU countries in general, but the Netherlanders have a right to use drugs in their country, by exercising their ‘ right to a rush’ (RECHT OP ROES), allowing an individual to use any substance he/she chooses to explore.

The Schengen agreement states that every EU citizen has the same rights as the citizens of the EU country he/she is visiting, named as free traffic between EU countries and the free exchange of goods and knowledge between these countries.

If any Dutch person has the ‘right to a rush’, how can we deny our co-EU citizens this right? I bet the EU Court never even heard of this right. In Holland it is allowed to use drugs, it is illegal to sell drugs, except for the 666 tolerated cannabis coffeeshops.

The hype around the Weedpass will soon come to an end, the City Council of Maastricht, the City that was supposed to run a Weedpass pilot, rejects the Weedpass and are to change the Local Law in order to make it impossible to introduce the Weedpass in Maastricht, ever. Researchers of the COT and the University of Tilburg advised to close all coffeeshops, and if that is not possible, to introduce the Weedpass, however a majority of the Council rejected this advice.

Justice Minister Opstelten referred to the (approved) verdict of the European Court. Just so you know, the court ruled that the residence criteria are against the EU Constitution, but they can be executed temporarily against drug tourism, for the period the problem exists. This is not exactly a mandate to nationally apply a pass or card with a local function.

Residence criteria: This makes excluding foreigners from coffeeshops possible, but it needs a change in the Local Police Law, Maastricht did that, however, the majority of the Maastricht City Council now wants to reverse this change, so the Weedpass will not fly.

This means the weed will bypass the Weedpass, because it will only work if all border cities introduce it, without Maastricht it makes no sense at all, all tourists would go there. This will mean the end of this stupid scheme, because the rest of Dutch Cities with coffeeshops will not introduce the Weedpass, as most of them, like Amsterdam, did not want the pass in the first place.

Besides the problems in the practical execution of the Weedpass, it has more or less been made impossible by two motions that have been filed in the Eerste Kamer (House of Senators) last week, both of them in connection with the evaluation of the Law on Protection of Personal Data. 10 political parties have accepted both motions, by Franken (CDA) and Tan (PvdA) during the sitting on May 24. Franken requested the government to implement 5 criteria in the decision, Tan requested a proposal for a law on identity management.

This means the medical data and the data of those using public transport cannot be registered in a National Data Bank, as the government CANNOT guarantee the data will not be stolen by crooks. This also means the eventual Weedpass data cannot be registered by our government.

I say, let the weed pass from the Dutch coffeeshops to those who want it, from wherever they are. I call upon the German, French and Belgium cannabis aficionados to try to open their own cannabis outlets; the EU will let you do it!

Nol van Schaik, coffeeshop entrepreneur, Haarlem, the Netherlands.