Drug policy: the marvelous weed-pass.
The Netherlands; well known for its tolerant and laid back view on basically anything (except time). Being openly gay is not a problem. Euthanasia and Abortion are far from taboos anymore. But I guess especially our very tolerant drug policy is welcomed by most people from other countries. Too bad that policy is changing. Introducing: the weed-pass.
Having a chillax weed policy basically means that most Dutch only consume it a couple of times per year (if that is even the case). It’s mostly the foreign tourists and students who love being able to smoke their ass off, just because they can. It’s like the ‘don’t-pus-this-button-effect’. It’s way cooler when you normally are not allowed to push that red shiny thing. Tough luck our government makes it super impossibru for foreigners to get their mellowness going on.
Last year they introduced the policy that only residents from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany were able to obtain drugs in coffeeshops. Students normally need to get a resident permit anyway, so no biggie up until that moment. But the government decided to take it up a notch. This year they introduced the infamous weed-pass to counterbalance criminality due to weed. Coffeeshops are now titled to be private clubs where only members are allowed to enter and roll their stick of happiness. And it is this rule that got the entire ordeal to get out of hand.
First of all nobody wants to be put on a government list of being a pothead, doesn’t matter whether you are a frequent user or not. Fun rule: you have to live here to be able to get one. This eliminates all possibility to ‘legally’ get your blunt if you are visiting for a short period as well. At this moment this pass is only in the southern regions of the Netherlands, which is exactly where Maastricht is located. Result: coffeeshops closed doors because they don’t want to discriminate. Even if they want to remain open, they have about 95% less customers.
No harm though, it is far from difficult to obtain your dose when you are here. Dealers have been flooding the streets offering everything the coffeeshops used to do (and will even deliver at your home if you know them well enough). Shady cars are approaching people that are obviously shocked to find out they can’t get any at the more well known locations in our town.You will have to live with the fact that there is no quality control, no chill environment to consume it in, pushy & dodgy salesperson instead of friendly clerks and the risk of getting busted by the cops while you do the transaction. A well, it’s always more fun to operate in the other side of the law, isn’t it?
About the author
Joep van Agteren studied Psychology at Maastricht University. He was a contributor to the Maastricht Students blog from October 2010 to August 2013.