‘Criminals will make a great deal of money from the “new” weed pass.’

13 December 2012

‘Criminals will make a great deal of money from the “new” weed pass.’

‘The weed pass is dead. Long live the new weed pass.’ The “weed pass” is the name which has been given to the new system governing access to the Netherlands’ “coffee shops”, where the sale of limited quantities of cannabis is tolerated by the authorities. According to SP Member of Parliament Nine Kooiman describes the new system as ‘a guarantee of a flourishing drugs trade, especially for the street dealers’. She doesn’t have a good word for the government’s plans to replace the proposed weed pass, which generated massive opposition, for what Kooiman describes as “a weed pass deluxe”, consisting of the obligation to show proof of identity and proof of a local address. Referring to the fact that a “weed pass” was introduced some months ago in border towns, Kooiman says that ‘As the experiences in the South Netherlands region have shown, this policy generates far more unregulated street trade. The cure is far worse than the disease. So we must put a stop to any form of compulsory weed pass.’

Nine KooimanKooiman is convinced that a weed pass would cause a great deal more danger in the streets from a lot more drug dealers. The examples of recent escalation are countless. In Roermond alone during the last few months 130 people have been arrested for street dealing. A year earlier the corresponding figure was ten. The number of complaints of nuisance has doubled. In Venlo, since the introduction of the weed pass there, they have tripled. In Geleen a lad on a bicycle was arrested for asking people if they wanted to buy drugs. He was nine years old. An evaluation of the situation in Breda shows that a feeling of insecurity has increased since the introduction of the weed pass and has spread throughout the town, while there has been an increase in the number of drug runners.

Kooiman cannot believe that Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten really wants the illegal drugs trade in the Netherlands to get such a massive boost. ‘In an interview a 15-year old school student from Helmond said that thanks to the weed pass “criminals are making a great deal of money” and that he hopes therefore that the pass will never be abolished. So I am asking the minister – would he rather have a future of safety with a good coffee shop policy - or a golden future for drug dealers?’

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