Weed pass sparks new problems

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

The introduction of the 'weed pass' earlier this month in the south of the Netherlands is leading to growing problems. Since 1 May, only Dutch residents are able to purchase soft drugs in coffeeshops. Foreigners are barred.
In protest against the move, many coffeeshops in Maastricht and other southern Dutch cities have closed their doors. So foreign drug tourists and Dutch residents who don’t have a weed pass are heading further north, and this is causing problems for coffeeshops in the weed pass border zone.
In cities in the weed pass area, like the eastern border town of Venlo, growing numbers of illegal drugs dealers are hanging out near coffeeshops. They’re harrassing not only drugs tourists but also local residents. The police say they’re monitoring the situation, but many people say they’re afraid.

The mayor of Maastricht says the weed pass, which will be introduced throughout the country on 1 January 2013, is also having positive effects. According to Mayor Onno Hoes, the residents of his city “can now park their cars in front of their houses. Children can play outside again, and old ladies feel safe when they put their garbage out.”