Amsterdam- As of May 1st, all coffee shops below the rivers should 'become private clubs, with compulsory membership list, weed pass and registration of private data.’ Monday, the Tilburg council committee takes a look into this.
Much has been said and written about this plan of administration Rutte 1; please note that the motto chosen is ”Freedom and responsibility.” The weed pass, but also the hashish ban, the absurd distance criterion for coffeeshops near schools and 15% THC limit: it is purely symbolic politics that restrict the freedom of the citizen and scorns his or her own responsibility.
RisksI am now forty years old and have been smoking cannabis since I was sixteen. Since my 21th I do it daily. I am the father of three sons, have a happy marriage, work hard and pay taxes properly. I do not cause nuisance, have no mental problems and lead a rich social and civic life. I really ask myself who or what it is that I help when as of May 1st, I have to be a member of a club and must be registered because I like to consume cannabis. An intoxicant with significantly less risks than alcohol. In 2009, the RIVM has prepared a ranking of drugs to individual and societal harm. Alcohol is number three on that list, tobacco fourth and cannabis eleventh.
PayrollI have two advantages: I do not work in paid employment and have never made a secret of my preference for cannabis. But I do pay health care insurance premium. Who guarantees me that it does not go up if I am registered as ”drug user”? If I were working for the army or police, the discovery of my membership would immediately lead to dismissal. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people, of all grades, classes and ages, smoke cannabis. Surveys in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Haarlem show that about eighty percent of the coffee shop visitors are not going to register. They choose the illegal circuit or their own cultivation. You do not need to be called Einstein to understand what that means: a strong revival of street trade, house dealers and scooter dealers and a strong increase in the number of home growers. If the illegal circuit grows, all types of drugs become more readily available for all ages. A dealer uses no age limit and laughs at the separation of markets. He sells any drug that makes money. Personally, I will send my own sons, when they come of age, to the coffee shop with confidence. Then I know that they will not come into contact with other drugs and that they buy weed or hash of decent quality in a controlled environment.