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HAARLEM, 8th September 2012 – At last, the final word is out – the weedpass doesn’t work! This has been the resounding opinion from dozens of voices in the past few months, but now statements have been made by Onno Hoes, the mayor of Maastricht and a well-known and fervent supporter of the weedpass, it’s suddenly true!
Hoes admits that the implementation of the weedpass has lead to street-dealing, nuisance in towns, street-terror by gangs who are battling for trade, empty coffeeshops and hundreds unemployed.
He believes that he is now able to solve this, by abolishing the compulsory registration for Dutch-residence coffeeshop visitors, thereby quelling fears of misuse of the personal data collected by coffeeshops.
However, Hoes is still clinging on to official municipality policy, which states that whoever wants to buy a bag of weed in a Maastricht coffeeshop must not only show a valid form of identification for inspection, but also an official residency document from the municipality. The Maastricht coffeeshops, united in the coffeeshop trade union, VOCM, have declined the offer from Hoes; they want to eradicate the weedpass once and for all.
What this is really about though, is the acknowledgement by Hoes. After 4 months of denying that the introduction of the weedpass had caused any nuisance or problems, he is now holding the white flag up and admitting that the issues around the weedpass do exist, and won’t go away so easily.
What does this mean for the continued plan to introduce the weedpass as of 1st January 2013 in the rest of the country?
I think that this means, that the weedpass will not be introduced “north of the big rivers” (Maas, Rhine/Waal). This is because any mayor who still chooses to introduce the weedpass into his or her municipality- after statements made by Hoes - is guilty of causing and facilitating the dealing of cannabis and other drugs openly on the street and of endangering the health of the nation and of local cannabis consumers. By also removing the separation of the drugs markets, they are also holding themselves directly responsible for causing more nuisance in the local neighborhoods, as well as for closed or empty coffeeshops which result in countless unemployed coffeeshop workers.
No mayor needs that in his or her municipality. If any mayor chooses to introduce the weedpass – despite knowing that he or she is endangering the safety and health of his or her citizens, I think it is would be then entirely possible to bring charges against such a mayor.
The weedpass has failed. We all know that now. Let’s quickly draw a line under it, before even more mayors are forced to risk the safety of their municipalities and seriously disrupt their community.
Nol van Schaik
Secretary, Team Haarlem Coffeeshops