Amsterdam Saves 44 Coffeeshops From Closure

Dutch coffeeshop owners went to court last week in a last ditch bid to block a government plan to stop foreigners from buying marijuana in the Netherlands.

Lawyers representing the coffeeshops oppose what would be the most significant change in decades to the country’s famed soft drug tolerance: turning marijuana cafes into ‘members only’ clubs open solely to Dutch residents.
Members would only be able to get into the coffee shops by registering for a ‘weed pass’, and the shops would only be allowed a maximum of 2,000 members.

The move comes into force in the south of the country May 1 and is scheduled to roll out nationwide on Jan. 1, 2013.
Whether it will be enforced in Amsterdam remains to be seen. The city has strongly opposed the pass idea and Mayor Eberhard van der Laan says he wants to negotiate a workable compromise with the country’s Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

Lawyers for the cafe owners told a judge at The Hague District Court that the move — aimed at reining in problems caused by foreign ‘drug tourists’ who buy marijuana in the Netherlands and resell it in neighboring countries — is “clearly discriminatory”.

Lawyer Ilonka Kamans argued that Dutch drug policy gives citizens “the fundamental right to the stimulant of their choosing” and should not deprive visiting foreigners of the same right.
Government lawyer Eric Daalder defended the measures. “Fighting criminality and drug tourism is a reasonable justification” for the crackdown, Daalder told the court. He said the government wants to bring coffeeshops back to what they were originally intended to be: “small local stores selling to local people.”

Marc Josemans of the Easy Going coffee shop in Maastricht said that if the courts April 27 ruling goes against them, the local coffee shops plan to disregard the ruling, forcing the government to prosecute one of them in a test case.
Though the weed pass policy was designed to resolve traffic problems facing southern cities, later studies have predicted that the result of the system would be a return to street dealing and an increase in petty crime — which was the reason the tolerance policy came into being in the 1970s in the first place.

Marijuana cafes are a major tourist draw for Amsterdam, with some estimates saying a third of visitors try the drug, perhaps in between visiting the Van Gogh Museum and other major attractions.

According to U.N. data, the use of marijuana by Dutch nationals is in the mid-range of norms for developed countries — higher than in Sweden or Japan but lower than in Britain, France or the United States.

City of Breda votes out planned “Weed Pass”

The city council of Breda voted against the introduction of a so-called “Weed Pass” that has to prevent tourists from buying cannabis in the Netherlands.

With the vote Breda joins ranks with Maastricht, Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Amsterdam and other municipalities that already oppose the planned registration system for Dutch coffeeshop customers.

The Netherland’s minister of “Security and Justice”, Ivo Opstelten says he is still determent to have such a system implemented.

After the vote was taken a member of Breda’s city council told the present media: “It’s just isn’t a smart precaution”.

Amsterdam: “The coffeeshops should remain open for everyone”

The city of Amsterdam is not happy with intention of the new Dutch government to close coffeeshops for tourist and only allow cannabis sales to Dutch citizens who have a registration card.

Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan thinks that problems will arise if this new system would be introduced. Unlike the towns and small cities in the South of the Netherlands, Amsterdam has no problems with the millions of cannabis-loving tourists visiting every year. But the mayor is afraid that closing the coffeeshops nationwide would drive the trade underground. “It would turn the clock back 30 years when people bought their weed in the streets and there was no control on public safety or public health”, the mayor said.

Is The City Of Amsterdam Going To Grow Its Own Pot?

Dutch green-party, GroenLinks, is the big winner of the Amsterdam city and borough elections held Wednesday 3rd of March. After securing eight of the 28 seats in the counsel of the city’s most important and international borough, Amsterdam-Centrum, GroenLinks is ready to actualize their election promise to have the city of Amsterdam grow pot in order to supply the city’s many coffeeshops.

Under the drug policy of the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by licensed coffeeshops. The coffeeshops (in Dutch written as one word) were introduced in the 1970s after the drugs laws changed with the explicit purpose of keeping hard and soft drugs separated.

There is an on-going contradiction concerning the Dutch coffeeshops, as they are allowed to sell cannabis over counter, but they are not allowed to purchase their own supply. There have been proposals for remedying the situation by, for instance, the GroenLink’s proposition of controlled growing of cannabis to replace imports of ambiguous legal status. It seems that with yesterday’s victory the green-party has its mandate to make this happen for the city of Amsterdam.

Three Coffeeshops punished for advertising

The Dutch opium law does not allow advertising for ‘drugs’ (as long as it’s not regulated). Earlier reports showed prosecutor Frits Posthumus demanded repercussions for 5 Coffeeshops. However only three of them were fined (according to the Dutch Parool).

Outcome of the judges’ decision was, (about as vague as 10 years ago) that they are allowed to advertise in a way. Just not in combination of any contact information, they allowed to show/ display them in their establishment, nor are they allowed to distribute/ give them away.. Main motivation behind this outcome was that Coffeeshops- and their business are illegal.

Barney’s Breakfast Bar Re-opens

After some months of reconstruction/ foundation work, the shop has been completely restyled. The coffeeshop, open 7.00AM in the morning is known for it’s breakfast, nice decoration and smoke. So for those loving that old design.. It’s out! We know… time flies people.

As like his colleagues Green House and Dampkring, also Derry from Barney’s decided to dump the spacy look of his shop and turned it into a somewhat more upscale coffeeshop with simple design and plenty of light.

Cannabis Liberation Day 2009

CANNABIS VRIJDINGDAG: 9 MEI 2009.

Presentie: DC Lama

Sprekers: Egbart Tellegen, Frederick Polak, August De Loor, Nicole Maalste, Werner Bruining

Muziek: Oercircus + DJs, Joost Belinfanta

 

Cannabis Use In The Netherlands Goes Back Thousands Of Years

In a recently unearthed 4200 year old grave in the East of Holland, archaeologists say they discovered traces of cannabis.

Near the town Hattermerbroek, the Dutch archaeologists found a pre-historic grave, dating back to around 2200 BCE. Spread over the bottom of the grave, they discovered the rests of an abundance of flowers. They now conclude that the pollen found in the rests came most likely from cannabis plants.

Speculations are made about the ancient tribe that left the grave and the uses that these people might have found for the cannabis plant, more than 4000 years ago. Some researchers say it may have been as a pain killer, much like modern-day medicinal marijuana others say it could have been used for its fiber.

The grave was discovered five years ago and has since been under close scrutiny of scientists. They were surprised by their discovery because historians assumed that cannabis was not in yet in use in this part of Europe in the third millennium BCE.

The researchers told the press they are preparing a 650 page book about these, and the other discoveries made in this part of Holland.

Coffeeshops Legal or Permitted?

Amsterdam is known to be a liberal city. Although many people exaggerate the freedom here, the Amsterdammers and Dutch in general do have a few liberties that are unique in the world. Still, whenever you visit a city in a foreign country it is always a good idea to inform yourself about the local laws and rules. In Amsterdam’s case this can be a difficult task, therefore this article will try to inform you about the basics of the Dutch legislation and specific things you should know about Amsterdam and its Coffeeshops.

In the Netherlands we distinguish between two types of drugs: soft and hard drugs. By law both of them are illegal, but the use and possession of small amounts of soft drugs is decriminalized and regulated. This led the Dutch to having a unique drugs policy in the world. Although the use of addictives in general is discouraged, the Dutch politics reasoned that cannabis does not have physically addictive qualities, and are not more harmful than, say, alcohol. Therefore the Netherlands allow limited forms of possession and trade in soft-drugs.

The specific rules are as follows:
• You are allowed to purchase and possess up to five grams of cannabis. Possessing more is interpreted as if you want to trade it, which is illegal.
• Only specially permitted “Coffeeshops” are allowed to sell soft drugs, and never more than five grams per person per day. You have to be 18 or over to access a Coffeeshop.

The paradox in the Dutch drugs policy is that the growing and trading of large amounts of soft drugs is illegal and not allowed, yet Coffeeshops still need to buy their stock. This phenomenon is referred to as the “back door/ front door” paradox: Coffeeshops are allowed to sell (and pay taxes for it), but can not legally buy stock.

It is not illegal to smoke outside the Coffeeshop, but things have changed over the past few years, and it is no longer acceptable to smoke cannabis just everywhere.

Restricted areas around Central Station and the Red Light District have a “zero tolerance” policy. In other areas in Amsterdam where it is forbidden to smoke Marijuana, official “no-pot-smoking” street signs will indicate this clearly.

Although you are not expected to know local regulations, you might very well risk a fine when smoking in these areas.

UN Cannabis Usage Report

According to a study called the ‘World Drug Report’ performed by the U.N (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) cannabis use was reported in 172 countries and territories world wide, with more than a million European consumers in the last month.

The Danish are way ahead of other European countries when it concerns Cannabis use. From the age of 15 to 34 some 50% have tried Cannabis at a certain point in their lives. This is quite the difference compared to the 30 percent European average. Other European countries with higher than average use are France, Spain and the UK. Canada (at 58.6%), and the United States (at 49%) are the leaders when it comes to the world wide consumption of cannabis.

The Netherlands does not occur in this list of top users, according to researchers, this could have to do with the fact that Cannabis is freely available to those 18 years and older in the Netherlands. The report also showed that the prices have been stable or dropped since 1996. With Spain being the cheapest and Norway being the most expensive when it concerns retail prices. The highest concentration of THC (Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol) – the active ingredient in cannabis – seems to be in the Netherlands at a little over 20%. Portugal and Italy scrape the bottom of the bag at less than three percent.

The report shows a quite divergent regulatory landscape in the EU, with decriminalization trends in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg but toughening regulations in Denmark, Italy and surprisingly, the big example, the Netherlands.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2008.html