Local councils support tolerant cannabis policy
Most of the Dutch local councils that have so-called coffee shops which sell marijuana say they have no problem with the current policy of tolerating these outlets, according to a survey by NRC Handelsblad.
The newspaper sent a questionnaire to the 105 local councils which, between them, have a total of 353 coffee shops. Of the two-thirds that responded, only 14 felt these establishments should be closed.
But over 75 percent want the national government to regulate wholesale supply to the coffee shops. Although they are allowed to have 500 grams of cannabis and hashish on the premises, large-scale cultivation of marihuana plants and the wholesale trade which supplies coffee shops is forbidden, creating an anomaly in the system.
The current coalition government does not want local councils experiment with regulating wholesale supplies. Nevertheless the mayors of several cities are experimenting with introducing regulations for the supply of cannabis to the coffee shops.
And the local council in Maastricht, on the Dutch-Belgian-German border, on Tuesday voted unanimously to move coffee shops to the edges of the city. The council hopes this will reduce the nuisance caused by 4,000 drug tourists who flock to the city on a daily basis.
Neighbouring towns are against Maastricht’s plans and Belgian local councils over the border have announced legal steps in an effort to fight the move because they fear problems will be shifted to their doorstep.
Local councils from all over the Netherlands will hold a conference on Friday to talk about the country’s policy on coffee shops.
The Dutch capital Amsterdam did not take part in the NRC survey.
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