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Mayors want to licence growing marijuana

Monday 24 November 2008

Marijuana should be grown under government licence and supplied to the 700 or so coffee shops that sell cannabis in the Netherlands, according to over 30 Dutch mayors.

This is the conclusion of the ‘cannabis summit’ on Friday at which the mayors discussed the country’s policy on soft drugs.

The mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel, said his city is prepared to run a ‘monitored pilot scheme’ to assess if a system of licenced growers reduces drugs-related crime.

Health minister Ab Klink told tv programme Buitenhof on Sunday that an experiment with licenced cannabis growers in Eindhoven would conflict with the coalition agreement but that he is prepared to look more closely at the plan and discuss it with the rest of the cabinet.

The summit in Almere was organised by the local authorities association and the city of Maastricht to discuss the Netherlands’current policy of turning a blind eye to the sale of small quantities of marijuana in licenced cafes known as coffee shops.

Closing cafes

It follows a decision by the border towns of Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom to close all the coffee shops within their boundaries because of the nuisance caused by thousands of foreign tourists who flock to the towns to buy drugs.

Closing down coffee shops is not a solution to drugs tourism and will not change the fact that most marijuana is supplied by criminal gangs, the mayors said. ‘It will only lead to more crime,’ Maastricht mayor Gerd Leers told the NRC. ‘And do not believe that it will mean that people smoke less [cannabis].’

Venlo mayor Hubert Bruls called for the introduction of passes so that only Dutch nationals would be allowed to buy drugs in coffee shops. ‘That would get rid of 80% or 90% of the 6,000 customers a day which Venlo coffee shops attract,’ he told the paper.

Coalition divided

The mayors’ plea for legal production has divided the coalition government. The Christian Democrats (CDA) and orthodox Christian ChristenUnie parties are opposed, saying such a move goes against the coalition agreement. But Labour has called for a parliamentary debate on the issue.

Even though the coalition agreement states that there would be no changes to the current policy on soft drugs, the call by the mayors, including those who are members of the CDA, cannot be ignored, Labour MP Lea Bouwmeester said.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

There's only one reason why we should do this, and that's to prevent the gangs from taking over the supply of cannabis.

They're waiting right now for that glorious day when the coffeeshops are closed for good. That will be the day when they take over the supply of cannabis for all of Europe. They will become enormously rich and will use this money to fund further criminal activities.

If we feel comfortable prohibiting alcohol and tobacco then by all means close the coffeeshops and prohibit marijuana as well. But if we see a value to society in keeping alcohol and tobacco off the streets by selling them in legal stores then we must also see a value in doing the same thing with marijuana.

It's not good enough to just legalize its sale either. We need to control cannabis with the *same laws* we use for alcohol.

By Same Laws | 25 November 2008 3:23 AM

"Venlo mayor Hubert Bruls called for the introduction of passes so that only Dutch nationals would be allowed to buy drugs in coffee shops. ‘That would get rid of 80% or 90% of the 6,000 customers a day which Venlo coffee shops attract,’ he told the paper."

--I hope these 'Mayors' enjoy watching their tourist industry crumble. Are they so thick headed to not realize that these coffee shops are probably their most profitable tourist attraction? I'm not defending the fact that the stuff should be sold, but I am saying that I think its a pretty stupid move and will have a huge impact on their tourism.

Not to mention, didn't they just say it would be beneficial to allow the growing of crops under license from the government? So wtf?

All that aside, the way the writer of this article worded the above paragraph suggests that The Netherlands does not wish to welcome tourists and their money.

And so ends the rant of a regular visitor to The Netherlands.

By t | 25 November 2008 4:21 AM

Free growing everywhere or regulated and controlled. There are only two good choices.

By Harry | 25 November 2008 7:31 AM

They need to be realistic about money. I love coming to Amsterdam for 4 reasons, The Museums, The People, The Beautiful Country and the ability to visit a coffeeshop that feels like home. I save all my pennies, so I can spend them there. I like nothing more than being able to enjoy a coffee, a few puffs and a nice book or conversation at a coffeeshop, after going to a museum or two or doing some shopping. I would live in the Netherlands if I could and would be happy being a law abiding, highly productive member of society like I am here in the US. And life would be more comfortable dealing with honest police, compared to the criminals in uniform here in America. I never met a Dutch Police person I didn't like in the 5 trips I've taken there. And I look forward to spending 3 more weeks next March for my 50th. I sincerely hope it's not my last trip, because the freedom of a safe coffeeshop is the main factor for spending my vacation money there over other culture centers around the globe.

By Alan J. V. in Arizona, Amsterdam Lover | 25 November 2008 8:59 PM

There may be organised crime in The Netherlands, but there is also in other countries, such as Britain, which take a tougher line, and where there are more young alcoholics and drug-addicts.

In The Netherlands, one knows what one is paying for, but, in other countries, back-street dealers will con people out of their money, often dealing in "soap bar", which appears to be often mixed with substances which would be more dangerous/unhealthy to smoke. Also, if users find it hard to find something good to smoke, they are more likely to take hard drugs or binge drink.

Cannabis and other drugs will not go away if the coffee shops are closed as it would only lead to more crime and social problems.

I would hope that The Netherlands would still be leading the way in social policies, which are a mess in the UK and probably also in other countries.

By PETER G MACKIE | 28 November 2008 2:07 PM

So where it to find,

By name | 28 June 2009 9:54 AM

It is a very good thing,

By name | 30 July 2009 4:43 AM

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