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Will Weed Pass Reach Amsterdam? Closing The Coffee Shops To Tourists?

Could this be the last summer to visit Amsterdam in its full ganja-fied glory? Let’s hope not.



      Everything You Need To Know About Amsterdam,
           Main Entrance Page For Amsterdam A to Z




If it’s up to the current Netherlands government, Amsterdam will soon no longer be the place for tourists to get baked. The city – with its colorful streets, lovely crooked houses, and hundreds of bicycles and canals – has been the main vacation destination for potheads worldwide since the ’70s, but this past May 1 the government introduced a new law in three southern Dutch provinces regarding the sale of cannabis in coffeeshops and is planning to do the same in Amsterdam.

The law requires Dutch citizens to register for the so-called “weed pass” in order to purchase their beloved herbs from the shops. Non-residents of the country are not allowed to register and therefore can’t cannabis there any longer.

The weed pass was introduced in an attempt to get rid of the continuous flow of drug tourists from Belgium, Germany and France who regularly cross the Dutch borders in order to buy cannabis in the coffeeshops. The results of the new law in the South are obviously not what the government was hoping for as it’s led to a huge increase of illegal street sales of weed and hash, and also hard drugs.

In an official study, researchers have tracked the new law, which is supposed to go into effect in the rest of the country on Jan. 1. "We want cities and towns in the rest of the Netherlands to know what they can expect when the weed pass rules take effect there," said Nicole Maalsté, a senior researcher at the University of Tilburg, one of the weed-pass cities in the South. In one of the three provinces, there have been almost 400 arrests among illegal drug dealers. Many Dutch citizens claim they will not register for the weed pass and would rather buy from street dealers or grow their own with cannabis seeds that can be legally bought via the Internet.

With the upcoming elections in September, political parties are starting to use the new law in their campaigns to lure voters. If the conservative party stays in power, the new law will not be reversed and it will go into effect throughout the country, but the left-wing and the Socialist parties will try to prevent this from happening. Several parties have taken a stand against the weed-pass system and say there are much better solutions to control cannabis usage. D66, a social-liberal Democratic party, claims that the government should regulate the cultivation of cannabis rather than the usage, thus keeping the whole process in the legal part of society.

The Netherlands has taken a sudden right turn in drug policy, starting with the ban of magic mushrooms last year. Dutch mushroom lovers reacted fiercely against this law too, but have not been able to fight it off. The only way to obtain mushrooms nowadays is by purchasing magic mushroom grow kits and growing them yourself. With cannabis there’s a lot of money at stake for the government by actually legalizing and regulating the cultivation of cannabis and raking in serious tax money in the process.

Meanwhile, business is flourishing for coffeeshops in Amsterdam and other cities in the northern parts of the Netherlands. With the word about the weed-pass law spreading across the world, tourists from all over are coming to Amsterdam to make sure they visit the lovely capitol while it’s still legal for foreigners to buy cannabis in the coffeeshops. Every year more than 1.5 million tourists make stops at coffeeshops in Amsterdam, which hosts more than 600 at the moment. However, if the weed-pass does come to Amsterdam, most of the shops would likely close their doors as has happened with many in the South.

Also see:
Dutch Police Raid Cannabis Cup