Amsterdam - Due to the introduction of the weed pass, coffeeshops will transition to the sale of alcohol en masse. That is what Michael Veling, coffeeshop owner and chairman of the Union of Cannabis Retailers, said tonight.
The government is planning on implementing the weed pass in the city as of January 1st, 2013. This means that coffeeshops will become private clubs. Cannabis may only be sold to cardholders and no longer to tourists. The death toll for the industry, coffee shop owner Michael Veling says: 'That will be the end of my business.'
Veling warns for his estimation that of the 220 coffee shops in the city, about 180 will transition to the sale of alcohol: 'If we want to call that an improvement of the living environment in the city, go ahead!'
The basic and main pillar of the Dutch tolerance policy is to protect public health, aiming to a separation of markets between hard and soft drugs. The coffee shops were the chosen means it was then decided.There, those who like to enjoy the plant could safely smoke a pipe or joint of which they were sure it was clean and of good quality. Without having to go to street traders for their weed, who except a selection of real hard drugs also often sell very unreliable weed.
On the contrary, CDA party chairman Marijke Shahsavari is quite pleased with the arrival of the weed pass: 'That problem with soft drugs is increasing because you also make it available. People come from allparts of the world to Amsterdam to get nicely stoned here. Terrible!'
The weed pass is pure symbolic politics according to Groenlinks party chairman Marieke Doorninck: 'What you of course get with that weed pass is that a lot of people, who like to use soft drugs and want to do that in a peaceful way, are banished to the streets. As the government, you can then not control that use anymore by the way. So you go back to the way that soft drugs are sold in other countries. And what do you see there; drug use is definitely not lower than in the Netherlands, but you do have many more health problems.'
Marijke Shahsavari: 'Those who advocate the legalizing and making common of coffee shops and the use of drugs only do that from the standpoint of: you cannot destroy it so you just have to put up with it. That is thus not out of the conviction that it is good for people.'