The southern part of The Netherlands is still under weed pass legislation, with the biggest developments over the past few months taking place in Maastricht, the southernmost big city of the country. After Maastricht’s coffeeshops declared that they would be once again open to tourists and other non-Dutch citizens, several police raids have taken place and some arrests have been made; this caused the coffeeshops stance against the legislation to be swiftly put on hold.
Two weeks ago, three coffeeshop owners and three employees – who were arrested in different coffeeshops throughout Maastricht – were convicted for selling drugs to foreigners. Maastricht’s court of law imposed fines of €2500,- and a suspended sentence (75 hours of community service) for coffeeshop owners, and €250,- for employees. Furthermore, the court ruled that the current legislation is
not in conflict with the (European) law.
Crime and Compensation
Statistics by police and municipalities in weed pass areas show an explosion of drug-related crime over the past year of new legislation. In the region around Maastricht, drug offenses doubled; in Roermond, a smaller city the area, at least 60 street dealers are continuously active. These numbers eclipse last year’s 33% crime increase, with citizens pessimistic about the near future.
Meanwhile, a court of law in The Hague has ruled that the state has to compensate the damages coffeeshops suffered due to the introduction of the weed pass. Customers of these coffeeshops (Dutch citizens only) had to register themselves with the coffeeshops as if it were a ‘private club’. The court stated that this measure was unnecessary in reaching the goal of blocking foreigners from the shops, because to prove Dutch citizenship, one could have simply shown an ID card or passport instead of registering. According to the coffeeshops this has cost them up to 90% of their customers. The size of the compensation is unknown at this point.
Have Fun Anywhere Else…
Fortunately for tourists, there is still two-thirds of The Netherlands left for you to freely buy marijuana. Of course Amsterdam is still a hotspot this summer, and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. An expansion of the weed pass from the south seems unlikely at this point.