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Weed Demand Outweighs Secret Supply Of Coffeeshops

Dutch Coffeeshops are under increasing pressure and scrutiny over the amount of cannabis stock they can hold, due to an ever growing demand for the drug. In general coffeeshops are allowed a maximum of 500 grams, which sells quickly in a busy shop. The supplier, known as a ‘runners’, may find themselves resupplying the same shop many times a day, risking arrest with every run, if caught in the street, or at their stash pad.

The paradoxical situation revolves around the back-door supply chain, which is illegal but tolerated under strict conditions, together with the question of where to store the stock (usually inside a secret room). Both these grey areas in the law leave coffeeshop owners in constant uncertainty, with the ongoing threat of prosecution. While the problem of nuisance in the cities increases as coffeeshops are closed. Welcome to the paradox of Dutch coffeeshop culture.

Coffeeshop ‘nemo’ in Rotterdam was the largest in the city, and it remains closed after two years since the authorities discovered excess amount of stock on the premises.

“After the municipality decided that no coffeeshops were allowed within a 250-meter radius of the school, 16 were closed. Many customers then came to Nemo. That’s why I had such a large stock.” said Mr. Ilonka Kamans, Lawyer representing coffeeshop Nemo.

Maurice Veldman, a lawyer in Amsterdam highlights a similar need for adjusting the stock limits in Amsterdam and points out that the municipalities of Utrecht and Maastricht allow for one kilo of cannabis stock, due to precisely this higher demand that is caused by the closure of so many coffeeshops. “The increase in demand is largely due to the closure of coffee shops […]”, Veldman said.

Race For Holland’s First Drive-Through Coffeeshop

Amsterdam’s New West District and the City Council have given the green light for the opening of a new coffeeshop near Sloterdijk Station.

Local news channel, AT5 reports that according to district manager Achmed Baâdoud, it will be a ”drive-in coffeeshop”, where you can pick up weed in your car, like a fast food drive-through.

A previously proposed drive-through coffeeshop by The Bulldog met with  fierce opposition. This was because the location of the coffeeshop in the capitol’s harbor area was too close to schools. But this does not apply to the location at Sloterdijk station. “There are no schools and residents affected by the arrival,” Baoudoud explained to Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf.

Utrecht

In the city of Utrecht, music producer and activist Chris Pilgram proposed a drive-through coffeeshop as a solution to concerns of some people in the city regarding coffeeshops and cannabis tourism.

Pilgram’s citizens initiative maintains that a drive-through coffeeshop located near the outskirts of the city, would help prevent ‘weed shoppers’ heading into the heart of the city, providing an alternative, licensed cannabis outlet.

Pilgram campaigned for over 10 years to open a drive-through, but has encountered resistance from officials who he feels have held up the plan for spurious reasons.

Recently however, ruling political parties VVD, D66 and SP gave their support to the idea, and now even want to “speed up” the process. The Mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen stated that he will come up with a adequate response to the situation very soon.

Rotterdam

Meanwhile the SP in Rotterdam proposed its own plan for a  drive-through coffeeshop to help solve the problems of long coffeeshop queues, street traffic and extra road traffic in their city . These nuisances are the given reason for closing nine coffeeshops in Rotterdam over the last six years.

A majority of the municipality’s council has voted for a  two-year trial with a cannabis pick-up point, which is intended only for costumers with a motor vehicle. “In any case, let’s try to see if the pressure on the coffeeshops in our city will actually decrease, as the initiators suspect,” says local SP Chairman, Leo de Kleijn.