Weed pass downfall: Paving the road to legalization

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For the most actual update on the weed pass, check here.

The weed pass was introduced in the southern part of the Netherlands in May. it prevents non-Dutch citizens to enter coffeeshops. Furthermore it requires people to register themselves with a coffeeshop using their ID card. Ever since its hasty introduction, the weed pass has been heavily criticized. The law has almost no basis amongst the public and with elections coming up, it is almost sure to be reverted before it reaches Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands.

[typography font=”Droid Serif” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff830f”]Failed experiment[/typography]

All clues point in the direction that the short life of the weed pass is coming to an end. The question remains whether the legislation will revert back to its original state, or that the Netherlands will finally end up with full-fledged legalization; with government production, quality control and taxation.

What some people do not know is that marijuana was never legal in the Netherlands, at least over the last few decades. Usage and purchase from coffeeshops was tolerated; production and distribution to coffeeshops is unregulated, forcing this vital part of the process to be criminalized. This is the kind of weak legislation that attempts to be tolerant, yet fails to go all the way and misses its point. It was set up by a government does want to make marijuana available to the public, but does not want to accept it as a part of its society.

With national elections coming up on the 12th of September, ‘legalization’ is named in many a party’s election programme; the end of the weed pass is called for some others. Looking at all the different political parties the Dutch can choose from this coming month, it is very likely that the weed pass will fall before it reaches Amsterdam.

[typography font=”Droid Serif” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff830f”]Polls and predictions[/typography]

If you look at all the different polls that are coming out on a daily basis before the elections, one can get a reasonable idea of the division of power after the elections. Of the two largest parties in the polls, the left wing Socialist Party (SP) and the right wing liberals (VVD), the SP refutes the weed pass and calls for legalisation and government regulation. The VVD is said to oppose the weed pass, yet does not specifically name the weed pass in its electoral plans. It should be said that the VVD was the leading party in the cabinet that set up the weed pass. On a regional level, the VVD in Amsterdam has been very outspoken against the weed pass, stating that it would greatly damage tourism in the capital.

In the rest of the political field, parties are also turning against the weed pass. Notable are the PVDA (labour party), D66 (democrats) and Groenlinks (green party, 4 seats in polls) who together with the SP call for some form of full legalisation of cannabis in the Netherlands.

The opposition comes from the PVV (freedom party) and the christian parties CDA, Christenunie and SGP who would rather see a full ban rolled out. Though, two of these parties are small, and the leading Christian party CDA has also plummeted after being a part of the past unsuccessful cabinet. They will only pose a threat to legalisation when part of the next government.

As it stands, no left or right-wing formation would have the required amount of 75 seats (50% of the total) to form a cabinet. This shows that no outcome is certain, it is rather unpredictable.

[typography font=”Droid Serif” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff830f”]Advantages of legalization[/typography]

Legalization of Marijuana would have many advantages over a system in which it is tolerated or merely decriminalized. The government can control the quality of the cannabis, making sure that there are no harmful additives and that the THC and CBD (cannabinoid) levels are in check. Legal marijuana will cost less, because the market and supply streams can be bigger. This leaves room for excise taxes, which in turn can help solve problems with nuisance by drugs tourism (which was one of the main problems for the weed pass to tackle).

This is as it stands with marijuana and the weed pass in the Netherlands. When things change, we will be sure to inform you so check back soon!