- Category: News-wietpas
- Created on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:52
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The so-called wietpas (weed pass) system forces ‘coffeeshop’ licence holders to limit their clientele to no more than 2,000 registered customers, who must live locally.
The measure was introduced at the start of the year in response to complaints about the impact of drugs tourism, especially in towns near the border.
Some politicians in the governing Liberal Party (VVD) and the Freedom Party (PVV), which holds the balance of power, want to go further and outlaw the sale of hashish altogether, claiming it finances organised crime in countries such as Afghanistan and Morocco.
Café owners claim the wietpas scheme is discriminatory and would infringe their customers’ right to privacy, because they would be forced to hand over personal details.
Customers fear their details could end up in the hands of government agencies at home and abroad, potentially affecting their ability to travel.
They are seeking an injunction at the court in The Hague to declare the scheme illegal.
The Maastricht courthouse has already turned down a similar appeal, ruling that the measures can be justified if there is a danger to public order.
However, coffeeshop owners in other parts of the country argue that they are less affected by drugs tourism than Limburg, which borders both Belgium and Germany and is a few hours’ drive from France.
They also dispute the claim that overseas visitors who travel to the Netherlands to use soft drugs cause significant social unrest.
However, a lawyer for the government argued that the majority of drugs tourists took substances back over the border and thus contributed to the ‘appalling’ international drug trade.
Enforcement of the wietpas is due to begin in the southern provinces of Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland on May 1, with the rest of the country following suit next year.
Coffeeshops in Haarlem have said they will refuse to implement the measure.
The court in The Hague will give its judgment on April 27.