Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Possible change in Coffeshops in the Netherlands

Possible change in Coffeshops in the Netherlands

Sep 30th, 2010, 10:28 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Possible change in Coffeshops in the Netherlands

Bad news for Pal and a few other Fodorites if this goes through.

We nearly have a new government here (finally - the election was in June!).

One of the things they are planning to do, if it all goes ahead, is to introduce passes for coffeeshops. These will only be available to residents of the Netherlands over the age of 18.

It will be interesting to see if this happens, and whether temporary passes will be issued for tourists.
If it does go through then I can see the tourist industry being quite badly hit by this.

Oh and they are also introducing a Burka ban. Bloody PVV
hetismij is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 10:32 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
That would only push the selling of cannabis back into the streets and the resulting victimization of tourists.

I hope the EU rightly rules this is an infringement of rights of all Europeans - what if Italy said you needed a pass and be a local to patronize Italian gelato stores?

Things like this are easy to say but hard to do. Are they going to punish Dutch folks who go into the coffeeshop and bring pot out to sell to foreign friends or tourists?

anyways thanks for the update.

I wonder if the coffeeshops would honor medical marijuana licenses from American states?
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 10:56 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,634
>>I hope the EU rightly rules this is an infringement of rights of all Europeans - what if Italy said you needed a pass and be a local to patronize Italian gelato stores?<<

It's perfectly legal to restrict access to services to residents, PQ. What you can't do is apply unequal rules to citizens of other EU countries. The UK has plenty of residence requirements for different benefits, for example (and doesn't that annoy UK citizens who go and live elsewhere in the EU).

>>I wonder if the coffeeshops would honor medical marijuana licenses from American states?<<

Why on earth would they?
PatrickLondon is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:03 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Yes they will punish any Dutch who sell on the pot.

The EU has already ruled that it is legal for the Dutch to do this since coffeeshops are not actually legal anyway, and pot is illegal in the rest of Europe.

No reason they would honour a prescription from the US. It's not a medicine here.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, amongst all the other horrible changes they want to introduce.

Always assuming they do actually get to form a government at last. Since it will be a minority government relying on the support of the PVV I can see it won't last long even if it happens.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:09 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,527
This sounds like it will do more harm than good. Like PalenQ said - it will put pot sales back on the streets which comes with a whole host of problems. One of the reasons that people are trying to legalize it in California right now is because of the problems caused by having it be illegal - and those problems are much worse than anything created by the use of the drug itself.

I wonder what the motivation is in the Netherlands to make this change in the law.

As for the burka thing - good grief. People should be able to wear what they want.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:13 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
This case is far from being "legal".
A similar case, which will have direct effect on the this planned law, is still pending before the European Court of Justice.
Check http://curia.europe.eu and put in case number C-137/09 in the search box.
The final ruling is expected still in 2010 - which will then be binding for all similar community or national laws in NL.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,931
Once tourism dollars fall they'll be voted out. I mean after you've been to Amsterdam once, why would you go back unless to partake? I found it a lovely city, better to live there than to visit though, without this nice perk. I am being purposely petulant, but it is annoying to see the backwards attitude of the US regarding pot coming out in Europe.
yorkshire is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:35 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
This is undoubtedly one of the PVV laws, along with the Burka one. I agree to some extent that it is a backward step.

However I do no live in a community close to the border, so do have to put up with the constant stream of drugs tourists visiting my small town day and night and driving off high as kites. This is a very real problem and source of crime/accidents and just general annoyance in many small towns, especially near the Belgian border.

Maybe they should issue passes, but for tourists they could time limit them to say two or three weeks maximum. And limit the number of renewals per year for tourist passes.

I can't see it leading to an increase in illegal drugs sales in the long term though - tourists will just stop coming and the locals can have their pass and get their drugs anyway.

The attitude to pot is the same throughout Europe - European countries do not like the Dutch way and would love this law.
The majority of tourists to Amsterdam and the Netherlands are not form the US, but from Europe, and surprisingly to many of you they don't all come for the pot, but the countryside waterways and beaches, and many return year after year.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 11:42 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Cowboy - you are right, but the Advocaat Generaal ruled in favour of the burgemeester and it is highly likely the court will accept that ruling, especially given the general European feeling about marijuana and coffeeshops in particular.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 12:00 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,798
Ummm... how much a fake ID will go for?
Dayenu is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 12:04 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
Why on earth would they?>

have not been to a coffeeshop have you?

Even the tough Dutch no-smoking laws are routinely violated in coffeeshops - even with their special caveats in Jan i saw no screened off places and lots of tobacco being smoke - seems even folks who do not smoke pot were seeking refuge in coffeeshops just to smoke tobacco.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 12:10 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
wonder what the motivation is in the Netherlands to make this change in the law.>

like hetismij says i think - droves and droves of French, Germans, etc driving into border towns to buy copious amounts of pot and use them as party centraal.

My French son said he went to Amsterdamned 8 times before he was out of lycee! With his buds - and this type of tourist spends little besides on pot and booze - they often slept in a car so spent very little.

But if Maastricht has a problem why should Amsterdam and Haarlem, etc. have to follow suit

How about border scrutiny to nab high drivers and check if they are carrying out a kilo as my son's French buds often did (along with lots of magic mushrooms)

this type of European stuff can ruin a good thing IMO and i do not blame some Dutch for feeling that way

Yet this is the death of tolerance - ballyhooed Dutch tolerance IMO - along with demolishing Amsterdam's ancient Red-Light district and of course most odious of law the Burqha law - really bigoted and so un-Dutch as i used to think of The Dutch.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 08:33 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
ttt
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 09:13 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,634
>>Why on earth would they?>

have not been to a coffeeshop have you?<<

No, but the implication of your query was that a US certificate or prescription might be thought carry some legal force to exempt EU providers from local laws. Coffeeshop owners would hardly think of relying on such an assumption, if they cared in the first place.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 09:18 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
You are indeed correct, Patrick. It would not be the medical marijuana prescription that got me in just their laxness.

Why is the EU, often the vanguard of intellectual thought and compassion so lagging on medical marijuana?

Britain i think even recently tightened up cannabis laws and made possession more than just a notice or whatever they call it.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 09:22 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,332
"the backward attitude in the US..."

Listen UP, in the US, there is no such thing as "getting a pass" because technically the stuff isn't supposed to be available AT ALL..and we already know that TECHNICALLY, marijuana use has been "illegal" in The Netherlands forever but there is this "toleration" thing.

I agree that there are a LOT of people in the US who think that if marijuana is legalized the whole society is either going to Hell in a handbasket OR (and this would be far worse for some folks) the society will turn into a bunch of liberal Democrats! This, despite the fact that those other drugs called alcohol and nicotine and caffeine are readily available (and please, don't even get started about Europeans and their own "attitude" about SMOKING tobacco!
Dukey1 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 09:35 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
Legal or not nevertheless in the Amsterdam Historical Museum i did recently read something to the effect that 'the Mayor of Amsterdam in the 90s decided to legalize and control the sale of cannabis in coffeeshops' - the word legalized was definitely used because i remember that usage throwing me off as i had always been told cannabis technically was illegal.

and the display, on coffeeshops, went on to explain that it was a back door, front door policy - it was illegal to possess cannabis outside the coffeeshop and thus illegal to bring it to the backdoor but once inside it was legal to possess in small amounts of a few grams or so for customers but then when they went out the front door the substance became illegal once again.

Technically legal or not de factoly cannabis is legal in cities in Holland that want it to be controlled, taxed and sold in coffeeshops (transaction tax i think not a tax on cannabis itself) - so saying it is not illegal is just foolish IMO - it is legal in everything but name.

In some US states sodomy is illegal yet many consenting adults do it without fear of prosecution - ditto for cannabis in certain cities in The Netherlands - and to my understanding it is up to the local authority to decide to tolerate coffeeshops or not. that said i have not been in one largish Dutch town that did not have at least once if not several coffeeshops.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 11:02 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands, but it is, like many things, tolerated. That doesn't actually make it legal.

There are lots of border controls Pal - but under Schengen there cannot be permanent ones, nor could the Dutch tax-payer pay for them. Ad why should we? It is not the residents of the Netherlands causing the problems.

Unless you live in the Netherlands you cannot understand the (political)situation here. Tolerance has always been a myth any way in my experience.
Like many other countries in Europe the Dutch voted right to far right at the last election. AS result things like Coffeeshops, and burkas come under fire.
hetismij is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 11:17 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,004
It is not the residents of the Netherlands causing the problems.>

To be the Devil's advocate you could well say it is indeed the Dutch who are responsible for the perceived problems resulting from unfettered coffeeshops as related to nearby countries - simply because as you say the coffeeshops are illegal - thus the Dutch are tolerating something that is illegal and also violates i believe international treaties and accords about illegal drugs trade.

I would think any attempt to actually close coffeeshops to even Dutch folk would simply be ignored in certain places - like Haarlem, which bills itself (or the local coffeeshops there in the Nol empire do) 'Cannabis City' and of course Amsterdam, where the profits from non-Dutch have to be huge - even if just in taxes brought into city coffers.

Indeed make cannabis truly illegal would provoke perhaps civil disobedience.

Holland may have voted knee-jerk right but i do not think you can reverse the coffeeshop tradition - yes they have reduced the number of coffeeshops tremendously but to eliminate them all? Again would just move the trade underground and for tourists, to the street as it once was, with undesirables then getting a piece of the high pie.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 11:30 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Honestly Pal - cannabis figures not at all in the lives of the majority of people here. They couldn't care less if every coffeeshop shut. There would be no rioting over it, indeed there would possibly be some rejoicing.
hetismij is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:26 PM.