Dutch Feds Ordered By Hauge Court To Compensate For Weed Pass Damages
June 28th, 2013
Categories : Blog
Fifth of June 2013. Anna Holligan of BBC News from the Hague brings us an interesting story today.
Recently, new legislation passed by the Dutch government, dubbed the "weed pass," placed new restrictions on cannabis in an attempt to stop so-called "drug tourists” from entering the country – solely to take advantage of its softer cannabis regulation.
The foreigners' cannabis runs, common in cities such as Maastricht where coffee shops can freely sell cannabis to customers on the streets, are in contrast attracting foreign and criminal drug rings. Foreigners are flying in and using Dutch cities as a sort of "cannabis pit stop,” and the easy cannabis access, the Council claims, attracts criminal dealers who bring harder drugs to Dutch city streets.
But some coffee shop owners and citizens in Maastricht share a different point of view. Holligan interviewed Marc Josemans of the Maastricht Coffee Shop Association. He said:
“All the clients that are banned in the Dutch Coffee Shops, in Maastricht at least, have to return to their illegal circuit in their own country. Therefore, it will become a bigger problem, [with] more criminality, in those countries.”
Under the weed pass, foreigners and tourists can no longer legally purchase cannabis from Dutch coffee shops. And, in addition to being a Dutch resident, one has to sign up to a "casino style" members’ club of a specific coffee shop before they can legally purchase their cannabis there.
Coffee shop owners say the weed pass has been a blow to the industry, making sales extremely restrictive and forcing them to intrude on their customers' privacy.
The Hague District Court partially agreed with this view, ruling that the measures under the weed pass are indeed too restrictive and have unfairly hurt the business of Dutch coffee shops. The judge called for the Dutch government to pay damages to coffee shop owners as compensation for the lost income. The amount to be paid is still to be decided on.
However, the weed pass was upheld and its enforcement is still in the process of being carried out. The coffee shop industry and several Dutch cities continue to fight against the new restrictions, and several coffee shop owners, such as those in Maastricht, say they plan to continue business as usual, disregarding the weed pass.
But the law is still seen as a battle lost for those who have fought for cannabis in the Netherlands this past decade.