In the letter, referred is to a new report by Intraval’s 12th report on the state of the coffeeshops, which discusses the results of the twelfth measurement of the monitor of the number of tolerated point of sales of soft drugs (coffeeshops) in The Netherlands and the municipal coffeeshop policy.
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Commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, bureau INTRAVAL accurately follows the developments concerning coffeeshops since 1999, using this monitor. For this measurement, a questionnaire has been carried out among the responsible civil servants in the period of March 2015 to April 2015. As in previous measurements, the response is 100%. The monitor has four topics: number of coffeeshops; municipal policy; enforcement policy; and sanctions policy.
Only recently Eindhoven, an important city in the south with an airport, decided to go forward with a 6 month experiment during which tourists are allowed to enter the coffeeshops again.
But these findings are controversial. According to an inventory by the Ministry of Security and Justice, the number of coffeeshop municipalities that has added the I-criterion to the coffeeshops policy is 76%. The I-criterion is better known in as the “Weedpass” or wietpas in Dutch.
This number of 76%, is not being enforced. Only in Maastricht (Limburg), Almere, Zeeland and several cities in North Brabant are still being forced to discriminate.
The main reasons that coffeeshops have disappeared in the past two years are municipalities enforcing a distance criterion, closure due to a negative BIBOB advice (Public Administration Probity Screening Act) and coffeeshops violating the applicable tolerance criteria, leading them to be closed permanently.
These policies are the direct result of the crackdown on cannabis in the Netherlands, initiated by the recently stepped down Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten.
Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice Teeven (both VVD, Liberal Party), responsible for the weedpass and recent growshop law debacle resigned earlier this year in a press conference.
Opstelten said to bear the full responsibility for the confusion that arose on the settlement of the so-called Teevendeal. Secretary Teeven says he can no longer credibly work as Secretary of State.
The Ministry of Security and Justice had paid 4.7 million gulden (about 2 million euros) to hash baron Cees H., the so-called Teevendeal. Opstelten said earlier to the House that he did not know how much was paid and that there was no evidence of the deal.
And so right now, all these backwards policy changes have yet to reverse or vanish. Until then, the crackdown on cannabis in the Netherlands continues.
When news reaches us on which coffeeshops exactly are going to close, you will be able to find it here on thestonedsociety.com. Also, a heads up to Nol van Schaik for the Intraval report translation. More information on the report you can find here.