Friday, 27 April 2012

I went to Netherlands in 1975, before there were many coffeeshops

I went to Netherlands in 1975, before there were many coffeeshops, I did not go for "drugs". But i was offered cannabis and hard drugs on the streets - so I bought some cannabis which turned out to be house brick.

Then I found a coffeeshop, a safe and friendly environment where I could buy good quality, be advised on strength, and smoke in safety.

Since then I have been to Holland several times - not specifically for drugs- - but often visited relaxing and safe coffeeshops where no hard drugs are allowed.

If this ban comes into effect, I guess I and others will be the targets of street drug dealers again, dealers that often may offer hard drugs too.

So Dutch streets will see more drug dealers - Dutch economy will see less income - drugs will be associated with crime again.

Of course those that go to Netherlands just for cannabis, may not go again, so there will be less tourists, less trade.

It seems to me that this proposed ban is just a jobs-creation scheme for street dealers.

Netherlands judge to rule on cafe cannabis ban
BBC News, April 27 2012
A judge in the Netherlands is due to decide whether foreign tourists should be banned from entering cannabis cafes.
While soft drugs are tolerated, there is growing concern at tourists visiting just for drugs, and foreign dealers selling illegally at home.
The ban is due to start in three southern provinces next month, with a nationwide one by the end of the year.
A group of cafe owners are arguing at The Hague district court that the ban is discriminatory against foreigners.
If the measure is approved Dutch residents will still be allowed into the cafes, as long as they have valid identification, or possibly hold a new "weed pass" which is also being debated.
Michael Veling, a spokesman for the Dutch Cannabis Retailers Association, is among those challenging the plan.
"It is going to cost me 90% of my turnover," he told the BBC World Service. "That is a very good reason for anyone to oppose any plan. Second it puts our customers in a very difficult spot, because why do you have to register to buy a substance that is still illegal?"
There are about 700 coffee shops, as they are called, in the Netherlands. The cultivation and sale of soft drugs through them is decriminalised, although not legal; police generally tolerate possession of up to five grams of cannabis.
Tougher approachThe BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague says the nationwide ban is being strongly opposed by the Mayor of Amsterdam because around a third of the city's tourists visit to smoke cannabis in the cafes.
If the coffee shop owners lose their case they say they will take it to the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds that the Dutch should not be allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of where they live.
The moves are part of a tougher approach to drugs introduced by the coalition Conservative-led government elected 18 months ago.
In October strong cannabis was reclassified as a hard drug, amid concerns that it has a psychotic effect on some users.
The move forced cannabis coffee shops to remove the more popular stronger varieties from their shelves.
In November the city of Maastricht brought in a coffee shop ban for foreign tourists from all countries, except Belgium and Germany, from where the majority of foreign customers come.

1 comment:

  1. The Court has ruled in favour of the ban - it will come into effect on May1st in Southern Nethherlands and the rest of the country next yea