Thursday, 3 May 2012

New Dutch Wietpas / Weed Pass - Much Worse Than I Thought!

I was in Amsterdam yesterday and was told the gist of this by a well informed source. Everything he said is as described in the extract below, taken today from the Netherlands Government's website.
My source also said, but this is not confirmed, that an individual would only be able to register with a single coffee shop, preventing both socialising, and the ability to exercise choice as to where you would like to smoke at any given time of day.
A few years ago, they stopped you being able to buy alcohol in a coffee shop, which also prevented mixed groups of people who wanted to both drink and smoke from socialising in the same place.
My source also asserted that the new measures would push drugs back onto the streets, where sales would be uncontrolled, organized by local criminal gangs with power struggles likely to cause injury and even death.

Not everyone who visits Amsterdam and other Dutch cities goes there to smoke. It's a wonderful place that you can enjoy in so many different ways. But all visitors will be effected by this, since the safe streets and canals that they enjoy walking along late into the night will not feel or be so safe any more.

I've been visiting The Netherlands for over forty years and I've always loved the people and the country for their practical, pragmatic, and progressive attitude to life. I'm saddened by this move, but I hope that sense will prevail. Please support the opposition to these changes. If I find a focal point for that, I will append it here.

There's some good, independent commentary here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/05/01/netherlands-marijuana-amsterdam-tourists-law.html 

This links to a translation of the Wikipedia Weitpas page, currently only available in the Dutch language.

http://www.government.nl/issues/alcohol-and-drugs/drugs/soft-drug-policy  

Rules on coffee shops to be toughened up

The aim of drugs policy is to limit damage to public health and combat nuisance and crime. This policy is now being stepped up.
The ‘open door’ policy currently pursued by coffee shops will come to an end. The objective is to combat the nuisance and crime associated with coffee shops and the trade in drugs. Coffee shops must become smaller and easier to control. Dutch drug policy needs to become less attractive to drug users from abroad. Coffee shops will be small, private clubs that focus on the local market.
In recent years the trade in drugs has grown in scale and has become more professional and commercial. In response to this, the approach to organised drug-related crime has been intensified.
In order to achieve government objectives, the rules on cannabis and coffee shops are being tightened up:
  • coffee shops will become private clubs, with a maximum of 2,000 members;
  • membership will be recorded in a membership list;
  • the coffee shop will provide members with a membership card;
  • only residents of the Netherlands aged 18 years or older will be eligible for membership;
  • no coffee shop may be located within 350 metres of a school;
  • from now on cannabis with a THC content of 15% or more will be classified as a hard drug.

Membership lists for coffeee shops

Coffee shops owners must maintain membership records. The cabinet expects that drug tourism and nuisance related to drugs will be managed better as a result of private coffee shops. The following rules apply to membership records:
  • the applicant member must be older than 18 years of age and resident of the Netherlands. He has to prove that he fulfills those two criteria by producing a valid identification document and an extract from the Municipal Personal Records Database. The extract must be more recent than 4 weeks;
  • the membership must be longer than one year; 
  • those who are not members may not enter the coffee shop;
  • the maximum amount of members one coffees hop can have is  2000 .

Membership card for coffee shops

The owner of the coffee shop has to make sure he only allows entry to members. Membership can be checked by a membership card (also referred to by the media as “wietpas” (weed card.) The owner of the coffee shop can also check who is a member and who is not.

Membership lists and membership card to be introduced gradually

The new rules will be introduced gradually:
  • the amendment of the toleration criteria (as specified in the Opium Act Instructions) will come into effect on 1 January 2012;
  • the new rules will come into effect in the following provinces on 1 May 2012: Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland (with the exception of the rule on the maximum number of members);
  • municipalities in other provinces may also choose to introduce the new system as of this date;
  • as of 1 January 2013 all rules, including the maximum number of members, will apply throughout the Netherlands.

Informing drug tourists

Non-residents of the Netherlands cannot become a member of a coffee shop and can therefore no longer use them. This will apply in the provinces Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland as of 1 May 2012 and in the rest of the Netherlands as of 1 January 2013. Information on the new members’ system are be available at the website www.new-rules.eu.
The site will also provide:
  • information on the new rules in 4 languages (Dutch, English, French and German);
  • information on drug addiction, with details of addiction care in a range of European languages;
  • information for municipalities introducing the system. (For instance on communication tools (including leaflets) that municipalities can utilize. This part of the site is only accessible for municipalities.

Minimum distance between coffee shops and schools

There will be a ban on locating coffee shops within 350 metres of secondary schools and secondary vocational institutions. The aim is to introduce this rule by 1 January 2014.

3 comments:

  1. Que dire sinon que l'introduction de ce "wietpas" est d'une totale absurdité et qu'il n'aura comme conséquence que d'augmenter le trafic illicite!
    La qualité sera pour le moins douteuse,le cana sera coupé avec un tas de cochonnerie qui nuira gravement à la santé des consommateurs tout en les culpabilisant davantage!!!

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  2. Translated by Google as: "What can I say except that the introduction of this "wietpas" is absolute nonsense and it will result in that increasing illegal traffic! The quality is at least doubtful, the Cannabis will be cut with a bunch of crap that will seriously affect the health of consumers while the guilty benefit!"

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