A little over a week ago the weed pass was officially enforced in the southern provinces of Holland (Zeeland, Brabant and Maastricht), but already it’s clear the policy is an utter failure. Instead of regulating trade and limiting nuisance, the trade is now going out of sight completely.
Dealers instead of coffeeshops
De weed pass was intended to strictly regulate the weed business. Coffeeshop visitors are asked to register as a member and can only buy a limited quantity of weed if they show their weed pass. Foreigners are unable to register and get a card.
But instead of registering, both the Dutch and foreign users are now ignoring the coffeeshops and getting their weed elsewhere. Street dealers are enjoying booming business now everyone is turning to the illegal circuit.
The President of the Official Association of Coffeeshops in Maastricht (VOCM) Marc Josemans tried to provoke a trial by way of protest, on grounds of discrimination against foreign visitors that were refused entrance to his coffeeshop Easy Going.
The Public Prosecution, however, stated that nothing will be done with these complaints. A spokesman said: “We only carry out government policy and the government has determined that this is not punishable.”
It could still come to a trial if the people that were refused entry turn to the court in Den Bosch and plead their case. It is unlikely they will.
The Dutch VOC (Society for eliminating cannabis prohibition) recently summed up the situation 5 days after the weed pass went into effect: chaos, anger and frustration. The Dutch news networks even showed the dealers on television: grinning from ear to ear and openly advertising their wares. The police does nothing, despite the promises of ‘zero tolerance’.
All the police seem to do is hand out flyers to everyone that has a foreign license plate. In an ironic turn of events these same flyers are also distributed by the illegal dealers as a means of advertising their own service. A service which is not bound by any rules or regulation.
VOC spokesman Joep Oomen: "It's no fun being right. We’ve been saying this for years, the weed pass is hopeless. And now we see that the policy indeed fails and everybody looks to the Hague. Ivo Opstelten (Dutch minister) is responsible for this. "
As clarification for our foreign readers; the weed pass has not been introduced in Amsterdam yet. When and if this happens is unsure, in light of the news mentioned above.
VOC: 5 dagen wietpas in het zuiden: chaos, woede en verwarring (Dutch)
NRC.nl: Justitie behandelt klachten over discriminatie door wietpas niet (Dutch)
YouTube: PowNews - verontwaardiging om straatdealers Maastricht (Dutch)