Kooiman: VVD must recognise reality of its bankrupt ‘weed pass’

2 October 2012

Kooiman: VVD must recognise reality of its bankrupt ‘weed pass’

After receiving uninformative answers from VVD (Liberal) Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten regarding the so-called ‘weed pass’ – which will restrict access to cannabis sold in ‘coffee shops’ to residents of the Netherlands who register as users – SP Member of Parliament Nine Kooiman called on the minister’s party, the VVD, to stop hiding its head in the sand. ‘In my view there are only two people left in the Netherlands that believe in the weed pass, the Liberals Fred Teeven and Ivo Opstelten. Mayors, police officers, and local residents are screaming blue murder, but these two gentlemen are unmoved. The pass is a mistake, and they should admit it.'

Since 1st May in the southern provinces only Dutch residents with a weed pass have been welcome in coffeeshops. Just as the SP predicted, the illegal street trade and the nuisance it causes in the neighbourhoods has grown enormously. It is costing the police a great deal of time and the mayors in these areas want to see the scheme abandoned. Mayors of big cities, where the pass will operate from 1st January, fear the consequences and are warning against going ahead. ‘The government must do the only intelligent thing and come out of denial,’ says Kooiman. ‘They are making it impossible to take steps in the direction of regulation of cultivation and the supply to coffeeshops. That way you would maintain control, which would be better for public health and rather more efficient from the police point of view.'

In common with other MPs, Kooiman has recently been putting critical parliamentary questions on the weed pass. Yesterday, a whole series of such questions was answered in an uninformative fashion by the Justice Minister. Last Friday Liberal Justice Ministry Secretary of State Fred Teeven stated emphatically that the government would be going ahead with the pass.

'The Liberals are holding the southern provinces to ransom so that in discussions with the Labour Party over forming a coalition government they will have something to offer,’ says Kooiman. ‘That this is at the cost of the safety of the border districts seems to make no difference. Parliament must therefore take hold of this and as soon as possible discuss this absurdity, so that we can instruct Teeven to abandon this failed experiment.’

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