A nationwide poll shows that Dutch municipalities are not keen on a registration system for coffeeshops customers.

The central government of The Netherlands says it wants to introduce such a pass system to combat “drug tourism”. RTL News asked local governments to share their thoughts the issue. The majority, 14 municipalities, say they oppose the idea of a ‘Weed-Pass’. The 14 municipalities say this pass won’t solve anything, and its introduction would only lead to further inconvenience and crime.

Essentially the large cities and border towns expressed the same concerns as the mayor of Amsterdam did in an earlier reaction to the plan: Public health and public safety might be at risk. Tourist would not be able to apply for a weed-pass, and the fear is they will resort to the streets.

According to another recent poll (by Maurice de Hondt), some 50% of the Dutch population think cannabis should be fully legalized while 25% want a complete ban.

Presently the Netherlands has a policy of turning a blind eye to purchases of up to five grams of marijuana for personal use. The herb can be bought from so-called “coffeeshops” which operate under local government license.

The idea of ‘coffeeshops’ was introduced in the 1970s for the explicit purpose of keeping hard and soft drugs separated. This idea was put in effect in 1976 with an amendment to the Dutch Opium Act that made a clear distinction between the two categories.

With regard to the category soft drugs a gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy) applies. An official set of guidelines tells public prosecutors under which circumstances offenders should not be prosecuted. It is a more official version of the common practice in other countries, in which law enforcement sets priorities as to which offenses are important enough to spend limited resources on. An often used argument is that alcohol, which is a hard drug, is legal and a soft drug such as cannabis can’t be more dangerous to society.

Cannabis remains illegal in the Netherlands and both possession and production for personal use are still misdemeanors, technically punishable by fine,. However, a policy of non-enforcement has led to a situation where reliance upon non-enforcement has become common, and because of this the courts have ruled against the government when individual cases were prosecuted.

Coffeeshops (in Dutch written as one word) are also technically illegal according to the statutes but under the drug policy, the sale of cannabis products in small quantities is allowed by ‘licensed’ coffeeshops. The majority of these establishments also serve drinks and food, but it is not allowed for a coffeeshop to serve alcohol anymore.

In the Netherlands, 105 of the 443 municipalities have at least one coffeeshop. Many at the borders sell mostly to foreigners (mostly from Belgium, Germany and France), who can also buy marijuana in their own countries, but prefer the legality and higher product quality of Dutch coffeeshops.

In 2010 a bill is proposed banning sale to foreigners; however, the local government of Amsterdam and other municipalities oppose the bill, because of the expected increase of illegal street trade.


Presentatie: DC Lama



Eindhoven city council has come out against government plans to introduce a registration for cannabis users to make sure tourists are kept out of ‘coffee shops’ where small quantities of soft drugs are sold.

Den Bosch and Maastricht city councils have already voted against the plan and the four big cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht have also pledged to campaign against it.

The new government has not yet given any more details on its plans to turn coffee shops into closed clubs. However, opponents of the scheme say it will lead to an increase in street dealing.
Full story: DutchNews.nl

Research carried out in 2011 on behalf of the City of Amsterdam into coffeeshops in the city has revealed a series of significant findings.

Membership card system

If a membership card system for purchasing cannabis were to be introduced in Amsterdam, only 30% of those currently using coffeeshops would register themselves for a coffeeshop membership card. Nearly 25% of coffeeshop users claim they would grow their own cannabis or buy it directly from a grower. Roughly 25% say they would buy their cannabis elsewhere, such as through dealers who deliver it to home addresses or on the street.
About 11% of current coffeeshop visitors say they would stop smoking cannabis if a membership system were introduced. Both coffeeshop owners and those who visit the establishments expect that the introduction of a card membership system alongside the exclusion of tourists would take soft drug dealing back to the streets, where hard drugs are also available.

New coffeeshop policy

The above findings are drawn from research conducted for the City of Amsterdam into matters including the reasons why coffeeshop users visit a certain coffeeshop instead of another. The research is part of the Coffeeshops Pilot.
The aim of the pilot is to develop a new Amsterdam coffeeshop policy in order to reduce the nuisance caused by coffeeshops and increase their manageability while encouraging them to remain small-scale and transparent. The pilot will ultimately lead to a plan outlining a more efficient means of distributing coffeeshops throughout the city.
In order to gain insight into the supply and demand element of the sale of cannabis, observations were made at 59 coffeeshops in Amsterdam and interviews were conducted with 66 coffeeshop owners and 1,214 coffeeshop users. 793 Amsterdam residents completed a questionnaire to help research the effect that coffeeshops have on their immediate surroundings.


Complaints about coffeeshops stem from nuisance such as too many bikes or scooters parked on the pavement, customers loitering on the street outside the coffeeshop and illegally (double) parked cars. However, observations made outside 195 coffeeshops revealed that such occurrences are relatively infrequent or not specifically related to a coffeeshop.

When residents were not directly questioned about nuisance they experienced from coffeeshops, the nuisance level reported was not higher in neighbourhoods with a coffeeshop. When directly questioned about nuisance from coffeeshops, 16% of residents indicated that they had experienced nuisance caused by the presence of a coffeeshop.
Residents who live within 50 metres of a coffeeshop experience nuisance more frequently than those who live further away. The majority of residents (54%) are neutral about a coffeeshop in the neighbourhood, 27% report finding it disagreeable while 17% react positively. A large proportion of residents expect the arrival of coffeeshops and bars in the area to cause a nuisance – more nuisance than they actually experience once the coffeeshop or bar arrives.

Coffeeshop visitors

The average age of the 1,214 coffeeshop visitors interviewed is 32.4 years old (with a range of 18 to 71 years old) and 14% is female. Two out of three visitors interviewed smoke cannabis on a daily basis or nearly every day. By far the most interviewees live in Amsterdam or close to the city and nearly all of their recent visits to coffeeshops were in


Outside of central Amsterdam, coffeeshop users have a stronger affiliation to a particular coffeeshop. The primary reasons that attract visitors to a certain coffeeshop include the quality of the cannabis, how friendly the staff are, the atmosphere and the presence of an indoor smoking area.

Coffeeshop characteristics

The majority of coffeeshops are located close to one or more other coffeeshops. In general, the coffeeshops can be easily accessed using public transport and parking facilities are often just a short walk away. It is often difficult to find a parking space close to a coffeeshop.

Similar to a small café/bar, the coffeeshops tend to have few staff and an average of 27 seats. Four out of five coffeeshops have an indoor smoking area. On average, the coffeeshops are open 14 hours a day and 100 hours a week. The busiest time of day is late in the afternoon and early evening with the coffeeshops receiving an average of nine customers per hour.

Cabinet proposal

The City of Amsterdam expressed its concerns to Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten that the cabinet proposals to combat the nuisance caused by coffeeshops and cannabis use amongst young persons (such as the card system and distance criteria) may not have the desired effect and could, in fact, be counterproductive. At the request of the Amsterdam City Council, the Mayor of Amsterdam entered into consultation with Minister Opstelten.

source: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/pressroom/city-of-amsterdam-2011/coffeeshop-amsterdam-research

There is good news for all the cannabis connoisseurs who like to visit Amsterdam and enjoy the wide variety of weed and hash that is available from the Dutch capital’s many coffeeshops. The Dutch Tolerance Policy, that provides the legislation under which the Dutch coffeeshops can operate, will be renewed from 1st July 2011 and will be valid until June 30th 2015.

This means that the feared ‘Weedpass’, a card only available to Dutch citizens that would factually ban foreigners from buying marijuana at coffeeshops, can only be implemented through local legislation. Since City Councils like Amsterdam do not want the Weedpass scheme and local politicians such as the Mayor of Haarlem have said they do not want it either, it means it will not be possible to implement for at least 4 years during which visitors from abroad can still freely and openly buy hash and weed from Dutch coffeeshops.

When consuming cannabis and enjoying our lovely city please keep these tips in mind to prevent possible negative experiences.

* THC, one of the active ingredients in cannabis, is a mood enhancer. Make sure you are having a good day that you wish to make more intense or refrain from using cannabis products. Drug use is a personal choice and should not be influenced by another person’s opinion.

* Use caution when combining cannabis and alcohol. Smoking a joint can make your drinks feel many times stronger!

* Allow 20 minutes to two hours for a space product to start working, and if the cake is larger try eating half and wait at least an hour before consuming more cannabis.

* All cannabis users: (but especially medical users) should make sure to consume only organically grown products (no chemical nutrients or pesticides).

* Smoking joints, eating space cake or using a vaporizer will lower the amount of sugar in your
blood. This can sometimes lead to nausea, ringing ears, and sweating. If this occurs just drink some sugar water or juice, or eat something sweet (avoid caffeine). Fresh air usually helps and so does a good meal, but panicking will not!

* Regular consumers of cannabis are encouraged to take frequent breaks from their habit. Remember, smoke less and enjoy it more!

* Unfortunately someone who has consumed too many “space” products will notice no relief from sugar water, as the metabolised cannabinoids are unaffected by sugar.

When visiting coffeeshops there are certain things you can keep in mind:

* Don’t feel obliged to consume the entire amount of cannabis purchased in that same coffeeshop, as you may carry up to five grams and enjoy it at the next shop you visit, or at home.

* Not all coffeeshops are the same. Trust your instincts and if you can’t get enough information from the menu, feel free to ask for a sample to see and smell, or go elsewhere.

* The toleration of cannabis is restricted to primarily coffeeshops, meaning that smoking in public or in bars is not always permitted.
The Cannabis College Foundation is a non-profit information centre based in the heart of Amsterdam. It provides visitors from across the globe with correct, objective, and honest information regarding every aspect of the Cannabis sativa L. plant. – cannabiscollege.com

courtesy of Cannabis College / Free Amsterdam © All rights reserved.

May 8 2010, 12-10pm, Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam
(see map: http://tinyurl.com/y8b6dt7)

Live Music, Speakers, Hemp Market and Cannabis Film Festival.
Cannabis Liberation Day is an initiative of the alliance of Dutch cannabis organizations (VOC)
and the Dutch cannabis consumers organization (VvCC).

“Prohibition Is No Solution!”


In addition to the coffeeshops, already listed in our earlier reports, two more cannabis establishments have found a new home at a different spot in the city.

The Bulldog Lounge on the Spui in Amsterdam center has been renewed as The Bulldog – Port 26 at Coenhavenweg 26 and is the newest addition to the famous Bulldog coffeeshop empire. Located in the Westport harbour of Amsterdam, you can enjoy a warm summer day on their large patio, with a smoke and a cold drink.

Coffeeshop Speakeasy has also moved from it’s former location in Amsterdam’s red light district to Eerste Oosterparkstraat 47, on the east side of town.

The city of Haarlem is currently working on an alternative to the seemingly doomed ‘Weed Pass’, that is meant to take effect nation-wide on the 1st January.

The so-called “wiet pas”, a controversial new registration policy, was designed by the Dutch government to limit coffeeshop clientele and to ban foreign customers from buying cannabis, but the new policy backfired in the southern three provinces of the Netherlands after it was introduced earlier this year. The mayor of Maastricht, the city on the southern border, has recently had a change of heart on the issue as the new policies led to an dramatic increase of nuisance and street-level drug dealing in his city.

According to the mayor of Haarlem, Bernt Schneiders, the alternative that Haarlem is now working on together with the local coffeeshops and the city’s health service, will function as a hallmark, guaranteeing good entrepreneurship, quality of products and compliance with (yet to be defined) standards. Particular points of focus will be the prevention of complaints from neighbours and the down-scaling of the coffeeshops. Mayor Schneiders told a local newspaper that the new certificate will force coffeeshops towards what he called the “ideal situation”, where they would be small businesses, serving locals. Exactly how the new hallmark would achieve this function he did not explain.