Tilburg also opposed to weed pass

5th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Tilburg city council has spoken out against the introduction of a weed pass for cannabis buyers from coffeeshops in the Netherlands.

Dutch border towns are inundated with drug tourists, who come to coffeeshops to buy cannabis. To keep out the foreigners, the government wants to introduce a club card which is only available to Dutch nationals over the age of 18.

Tilburg was the last of the four main cities in the southern province of Brabant the others are Den Bosch, Breda and Eindhoven to voice its opposition against the introduction of a weed pass. Mayor Peter Noordanus, who in the Tilburg council had argued in favour, was told not to cooperate in the introduction of a weed pass unless ordered to do so by the government.

To keep out the drugs tourists, the cabinet wants to turn coffeeshops into private clubs which can issue club cards to a maximum of 1,500 regular visitors. However, a majority in the Tilburg council believes a card system will lead to an increase in the sale of drugs on the streets and only create bigger problems.

The cabinet wants to introduce the weed pass in Brabant first, as part of a raft of measures against cannabis-related crime in the province. Mayor Noordanus expects the weed pass will be introduced in spite of the opposition from the province’s main cities. He is convinced of the ‘limited advantages’ offered by the new system, such as a reduction in the number of drug tourists.

The mayor explained to the council that a recent ruling by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court allows the government to go ahead with the introduction of a weed pass. Mr Noordanus said that if the government did go ahead, he would enforce the new system.

However, the Council of State also ruled that the weed pass could only be introduced if the national drug legislation, the Opium Act, was changed. That is what Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten wants, but Labour MP Lea Bouwmeester says: “Changing the Opium Act is very complicated, because it actually states that selling soft drugs is illegal. So it would be strange to say that introducing a weed pass is somehow allowed.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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