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Policies on personal use of soft drugs hardening

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROTTERDAM - The new Dutch coalition government, made up of the conservative liberal VVD and the Christian Democratic CDA is with the support of coalition ‘outsider Wilders’ PVV intent on reforming policies governing ‘coffee shops’ that would close such soft drugs outlet within 350 metres (1,100 feet) of schools. If the proposal is adopted, it may close 6 out of 10 coffee shops, reports Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. Ideas such as the introduction of a weed-pass would allow only local customers to buy drugs at coffee shops, making it hard for tourists to purchase it. The proposals are already attracting opposition from the pot-smoking Dutch and tourists, coffee shop owners, cannabis cultivators, and concerned middlemen. Supporters of the current soft drugs policy warn that the closure of coffee shops will push the trade back onto the street and into the black market, thus causing more crime. Under current laws, one must be 18 to purchase up to 5 grams a day of marijuana. Coffee shops are only allowed to have one half of a kilogram (1.1 pounds) on site and will be held responsible for disturbances caused by smokers. To clarify terminology, in Dutch, a koffiehuis is the cousin of a North American coffee shop, while a Dutch café is the closest thing to a North American bar.