- Category: News-wietpas
- Created on Tuesday, 08 May 2012 12:46
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The city has benefited from an accident of geography: as well as being on the frontier of the provisional ‘wietpas zone’, the three southern provinces where the new rules came into force on May 1, it is a short hop from the German border.
Coffeeshop owners told local newspaper De Gelderlander that they saw a surge in trade during the first weekend of the new regime.
The extra trade has come partly from the south of the Netherlands, where many coffeeshops have closed in protest at the new law. In additon, some coffeeshop patrons prefer to drive across the border rather than register as members of their local café.
‘At first we noticed an increase in customers mainly from the south of the country who didn’t want to register, but at the weekend more and more Germans and Belgians came into the shops,’ said Viktor Verriet, who owns two coffeeshops in Nijmegen.
‘We’ve never had so many foreign customers before. The door staff are becoming busier all the time.’
Another visible trend since the introduction of the wietpas has been an increase in the amount of drugs being sold on the street, particularly in southern cities such as Venlo and Maastricht.
Verriet said the phenomenon was visible in Nijmegen as well. ‘I’ve taken a tour around the city and I can already see a rise in street dealing. Dealers are already settting up networks for when the wietpas is introduced in Nijmegen in January.’
The wietpas system will be extended across the rest of the Netherlands from January 1 next year. After that point only registered members, who must live in the country, will be allowed into coffeeshops and each café will be limited to a maximum of 2,000 members.
A legal challenge by coffeeshop owners to strike out the law as discriminating against citizens of other European states was rejected by a court last month.
A spokesman for the city council in Nijmegen said the increased coffeeshop trade had not caused any social disorder. ‘In general coffeeshops don’t cause much nuisance,’ he added.