EINDHOVEN – On the first of May, the weed pass was introduced across the southern part of the Netherlands. The rest of the Netherlands – including Amsterdam – is set for a weed pass introduction in the first half of 2013. Whether the weed pass will actually spread further north remains to be seen, in the past months the foundations of the new legislation have been shaky. Street dealers emerged in large numbers, truly flourishing due to the amount of people who refuse – or are unable to – visit the coffeeshops in their current state. Furthermore, there will be elections coming September, with political parties surely taking into account the weed pass problems. The possibility remains that the laws are reverted back to their original form, where marijuana is tolerated, but not legal.
[typography font=”Droid Serif” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff830f”]What is the weed pass?[/typography]
While in most occasions not actually being a physical card, The weed pass legislation forbids coffeeshops from allowing non-Dutch visitors to enter. Coffeeshops are allowed to have 2000 members, each registered through an ID card, passport or a print of your GBA (evidence of resident registration). Some coffeeshops will be working with paper copies of an ID, while others invest in the more high-end scanners, which are said to also be used at airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam).
According to a coffeeshop employee in Eindhoven the device is not connected to a network, and stores the copies encrypted in its own software. Nevertheless, sensitive information is stored at a coffeeshop and one can merely speculate who can access this information. The encryption provides extra safety, yet all encryption can be cracked; if that happens, a criminal can merely walk into a coffeeshop and take the laptop that is occasionally within reach from the counter.
When you are a regular customer at a coffeeshop, they won’t register each time you go there. This shows that the system is merely used as registration, and not as a personal counter to find out who buys what. Though even through the act of registering – some experts say – companies in fields such as health insurance might eventually get a hold of this information and adjust their policy towards you accordingly.
[typography font=”Droid Serif” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff830f”]Cause and effect[/typography]
The changes in the Dutch marijuana legislation have had a direct effect on the cities that are affected. The current government (demissionary cabinet) describes the effects as being largely positive, while the media and the inhabitants of the large southern cities tell a different story which is almost solely negative. With the elections in September, the latter might set the tone for political parties with regards to the marijuana legislation. If the will of the majority prevails, the legislation will surely be reverted before it reaches Amsterdam or any other city.
We will keep you updated.