tightening the ‘gedoogbeleid’

28 October 2011 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The ‘gedoogbeleid’ as something typical of Dutch legal culture around coffee shops is hard to explain and defend to non-Dutch (and to some Dutch as well ..). Core is that soft drugs are illegal, but buying less than 5 grams for personal use when you are 18 in special ‘coffee shops’ that have a municipal license, is condoned. Harder to handle is the fact that these coffee shops need to have something to sell ‘at the front door’, but are not allowed to buy large amounts of that stuff ‘at the back door’. Official policy is that the police ‘looks the other way’ from the back door as long as the stack is not over 500 grams.
No problemo .. as long as people in the area do not complain. Exactly this has been going on for some years now in the larger cities near the border with Belgium and Germany. Many French, Belgians, and Germans pay weekend visits to the Netherlands … leading to trouble in city centers and thus to complaints. The big idea of this liberal (!) government is to oblige coffee shops to become a ‘closed shop’ with members only. Only people living in the same city are allowed to become member and have a ‘wiet pass’ to get access to the shop. The rule will be in force from 1 January for the southerns part of the country, and a year later for the rest of the country.
As even an amateur criminologist can predict ..

About Wibo van Rossum

assistent professor at legal theory Utrecht University School of Law

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