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Dutch Government Delays Banning Tourists From Coffeeshops

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amsterdam marijuana cafe

Amsterdam Delays Banning Tourists From Buying Weed

The Dutch government says it is delaying plans to ban tourists from buying marijuana until at least May 2012.

Under the country’s famed tolerance policy, marijuana is technically illegal but police don’t prosecute people for possession of small amounts and it is sold openly in cafes.

The Netherlands is well known for having one of Europe’s most liberal soft drug policies that has made its cannabis shops a popular tourist attraction, particularly in Amsterdam.

Under the new rules, only Dutch residents will be able to sign up as members of cannabis shops. Dutch customers will have to sign up for at least a year’s membership and each shop would be expected to have only up to 1,500 members.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said Thursday a test rollout in southern cities will be delayed until May because of practical difficulties. The cities support the plan, hoping it will solve problems caused by German and Belgians who drive across the border just to buy the drug.

Opstelten said the system will be applied nationwide in 2013, despite objections from Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, home to about 220 coffee shops, is already in the process of closing some in its red light district. Some officials have resisted the measures, saying they will push the soft drug trade underground. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he plans to begin rolling out the system in the country’s south later this year, an area popular with French and German buyers, before moving on to Amsterdam’s famed tourist cafes later in his term.

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  • Some man

    Cool, I go to Amsterdam in January.

  • Jurriaan

    @slipperywenwet The ministers dont hate germans ofcourse… Also the regular people dont hate germans too, we’d rather have them not in the netherlands, and we just joke about them.

    Also i dont think the ministers did a good job on this, the coffeeshops are a major attraction of tourists, and they will get the weed somewhere else anyway…

    Sorry for bad english, im actually dutch.

  • malcolm kyle

    While bullets fly into El Paso, bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

    Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

    A poll taken last year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.
    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/02/public_split_on_cannabis_legal.php

    It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

    While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

    According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
    In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

    The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

    In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

    Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/90295/

    In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

    Here is a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation
    http://tinyurl.com/247a8mp

  • slipperywenwet

    i wish theyd quit hating the germans so much!!!