Opinion: Bye bye weed pass

POSTED: 11/20/12 1:57 PM

It was never going to lead to anything anyway but Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten terminated the much criticized weed pass yesterday. In a letter to the Second Chamber the minister wrote that there is no longer a need for the so-called “closed club criterion.”

The VVD and the Labor Party PvdA wrote in their governing program that they want to get rid of the pass, without indicating per which date this would become effective.

The pass was introduced in the south of the country on May 1. The previous government wanted to introduce it nationwide per January 1.

That’s off the books now. In the southern provinces there was resistance against the forced membership of a coffee shop. The result was illegal trade that focused on residents after drugs tourists stayed away.

Opstelten wants to maintain the rule that only Dutch citizens are allowed to buy drugs in coffee shops. That’s going to be an interesting exercise when third generation Turkish or Moroccan immigrants go shopping for their joints. The coffee shops will be allowed to ask for valid IDs, a residence permit or an excerpt from the census office.

According to Opstelten this approach is a success in the southern provinces where coffee shops have scaled down and become more manageable.

What’s funny: a month ago Opstelten and the so-called experts at his ministry warned against the abolition of the weed pass. Now the minister is going to implement a policy he opposed as recently as four weeks ago.

Opstelten wants to tackle the production and consumption of heavy marijuana – weed with a THC-content of 15 percent or higher. The cabinet placed these products on the list of hard drugs. Hard drugs don’t belong in coffee shops, according to Opstelten, who said that “in the future” the shops will only be allowed to sell marijuana with a THC-content below 15 percent

From that statement we understand that the 15+ THC marijuana is currently still available.

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