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Future : Religious protection in the Netherlands needed?

 
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Ferre
Cannabis Sacrament Minister.
Cannabis Sacrament Minister.


Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 2550
Location: Amsterdam

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:35 am    Post subject: Future : Religious protection in the Netherlands needed? Reply with quote

Lately the "war on drugs" is affecting the Netherlands also, due to a currently U.S. ass licking Dutch government.

Quote:
More news at www.news24.com
Read the story online:
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1433677,00.html

Dagga 'coffee shops' go cold

Oct 21 2003 08:16:11:920PM

The number of Dutch "coffee shops," where marijuana is part of the menu, has fallen by 3% in 2002.

Amsterdam - The number of Dutch "coffee shops," where marijuana and hashish are sold openly over the counter, fell by 3% in 2002 to 782, the Justice Ministry said on Tuesday.

It was the fifth consecutive annual fall in the number of smoking establishments, where customers can buy a cup of coffee and a marijuana jpint. The total number of coffee shops in the country has dropped by 34% since 1997, according to a statement.

Justice Ministry spokesperson Wim Kok said the decrease followed the tougher enforcement of regulations imposed on the businesses by municipal authorities. The sale or use of small quantities of marijuana and hashish is not prosecuted in the Netherlands, but the drug has not been legalised outright.

Last month, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise the sale of marijuana with a doctor's prescription.

Coffee shop guidelines limit the sale to 5g per person, prohibit advertising, and all sales of drugs to minors under 18. The sale of other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, is banned and cities and have the right to shut down coffee shops if they become a public nuisance.

Over the past four years, 50% of coffee shops that violated the rules have been closed temporarily or permanently, or had their sales licenses revoked, the ministry said.

The Justice Ministry said two thirds of Dutch municipalities have now implemented additional rules that prohibit locating coffee shops near schools.


To make it all even worse the Dutch government is making all kind of agreements with foreign nations to get in their political favour too :

Quote:


German Interior Minister Otto Schily and Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner have agreed to fight the drug trade together but clashed on the subject of Dutch coffee shops which sell cannabis.
Despite their differences of opinion over some areas of drug law and legalization, Germany and the Netherlands, its more permissive, liberal neighbor, agreed on Wednesday that the two countries would step up their collective efforts to fight the international drug trade and harmonize their narcotics laws.

German Interior Minister Otto Schily and Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner met in Berlin to hammer out the details of a German-Dutch pact which would include initiatives to enhance the effectiveness of the police patrols on the two countries’ shared border in a bid to combat drug trafficking.

“We have patrol agreements with France and we operate similar ones with Poland and the Czech Republic. And it will be good when we also bring an equivalent agreement together with Holland,” Schily said.

The current amount of drugs crossing from the Netherlands to Germany show exactly how porous the border is.

International smuggling

One particular concern is the increase of drug smuggling coming into Europe through Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Both ministers were particularly concerned about drug couriers who use international flights to transport narcotics from South America, for example, to Europe.

Donner told reporters that at least 20 tons of cocaine were brought into Europe each year through Schiphol, the main Dutch hub, where local police arrest 200 drug couriers every month. “That is a substantial share, at least ten percent of the whole European intake,” he said.

Schily and Donner showed a united front by saying that both countries were ready to put pressure on airlines to stem the problem, even suspending services between some cities on notorious drug routes.

Exchange of intelligence planned

Other measures, including the exchange of police records with the Benelux countries -- Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg -- and other neighbors were being considered, said Schily. The German interior miniister added that Germany would send officials to the Netherlands to help coordinate law enforcement efforts.

Despite the positive messages, the two ministers clashed over the subject of the Dutch coffee shops, establishments which legally sell cannabis and other so-called soft drugs over the counter. Nearly 800 coffee shops across the count! ry offer cannabis under government regulations that allow the sale of up to five grams of the drug to individual customers for their own consumption. Possession of more than 30 grams is illegal in the Netherlands.

Schily, a vehement opponent of the Dutch attitude to soft drugs, urged his counterpart to close the coffee shops, saying that the sale of any drugs advocated their use.

A Dutch problem

But Donner said the cafes offered Dutch authorities an opportunity to keep a close check on drug use. “Even though I understand the German opinion on the question of coffee shops, I must say that it is a question for the Dutch and not a problem for our neighbors,” he said.

In a bid to placate his German counterpart, he did however present proposals that would, if agreed on, prevent drug tourism between the two countries by only allowing Dutch residents to visit the nation's infamous cannabis cafes.

Proposals target drug tourists

In the plan, cannabis sales could in future be restricted by the introduction of a pass card or membership system and coffee shop customers might also be required to show their passports. The minister added, however, that he did not intend to introduce the system himself.

Such a set of proposals would be welcomed by resident committees, especially those in the eastern town of Venlo which sits on the German border. The town has five official coffee shops and many illegal ones which serve German drug tourists heading the short distance over the border for a hit. There are also plans to establish two shops nearer to the German border to reduce the nuisance factor for city center residents.

But officials from the Venlo city council and other municipalities are concerned by Donner’s proposals, saying that they would result in an explosive increase in the illegal trade. The Association of Dutch Municipalities said it wanted to wait for definite plans before assessing reactions from its member councils.

Note: Germany and the Netherlands say they'll work! to get tough on the drug trade together.

Source: Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Published: October 23, 2003
Copyright: 2003 Deutsche Welle
Website: http://www.dw-world.de/english/
Contact: http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,266_K,00.html



All this does not effect the thc ministry and as Roger Christie wrote to me in an email attending me on that article today..

Roger (aka pakaloha) wrote:
The ministry method is needed by all nations as a respectable way forward.
It's the dark of the moon...tomorrow the new moon! Time to plant new prayers and seeds of hope and love and more...


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Ferre
Cannabis Sacrament Minister.
Cannabis Sacrament Minister.


Joined: 14 Apr 2003
Posts: 2550
Location: Amsterdam

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Guardian (UK) wrote:

Copyright: 2003 Guardian Newspapers Limited
Contact: letters@guardian.co.uk
Website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/175
Author: Andrew Osborn

JOINT OPERATION

A thick pall of sweet-smelling hashish has hung over the Netherlands since
the first "coffee shop" opened its doors in 1972.

Since then, the country's famously relaxed drug laws have attracted droves
of weed lovers from across the globe and earned the country a sometimes
controversial reputation for unparalleled liberality.

At its peak in 1997 the country's network of coffee shops ran to almost
1,200 cafes where anyone over 18 could exercise their legal right to buy up
to five grams (a sixth of an ounce) of marijuana at a time. But thirty years
later, the novelty appears to have worn off and the increasingly
conservative Dutch authorities are drawing up plans to turn back the clock.

With the conservative Christian Democrat party holding sway in the latest
three-party coalition and the Labour party consigned to opposition, the
country's traditionally liberal approach towards drugs are up for review.

This week the Dutch public got a foretaste of exactly how the government is
planning to sweep aside decades of tolerance, when justice minister Piet
Hein Donner publicly outlined plans to allow only Dutch citizens to visit
coffee shops.

In a move designed to tackle the perceived scourge of drug tourists, he said
that coffee shop customers should be asked to show their passport and prove
that they live locally before being served.

Concerned too about the prevalence of hard drugs in the Netherlands, he
threatened to withdraw the landing rights of any airline regularly found to
be transporting drug smugglers from former colonies such as the Antilles and
Surinam.

His comments come hot on the heels of a decision to ban Dutch police
officers from frequenting coffee shops, the construction of emergency jail
cells for drug smugglers and a tough new anti-smoking law which stipulates
that employees should not be exposed to tobacco smoke.

The Dutch coffee shop business, it is fair to say, is not what it once was.

New figures show that the number of drug cafes fell to 782 legal
establishments last year from 1,200 in 1997, a drop of over 30%. In the past
six years hundreds of coffee shops found to be flouting the law by offering
harder drugs or selling to underage customers were shut down - either
permanently or temporarily - and had their sales licences revoked.

This latest crackdown appears, however, to be far more serious than anything
which has preceded it. The Dutch government is under mounting pressure to
take action from neighbouring Germany, which sees thousands of its citizens
flood across the border in search of marijuana every day.

Many of the dozens of towns that squat on the Dutch side of the border
between the two countries have been transformed into open-air drugs
supermarkets.

The problem is at its worst in Venlo, a town of 90,000 people nestling on
the banks of the river Maas in the south of the country. Just five minutes
drive from the German border, it is awash with drugs, dealers and tourists.
Five million Germans live within 30 miles, and as many as 4,000 of them
visit every day.

Angered by such liberality on its doorstep, Berlin wants nothing less than a
total ban on soft drugs in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities seem
unlikely to go that far but they do mean business. A treaty allowing the
German and Dutch police to cooperate in border regions is likely to be
signed soon and the Dutch government is reportedly close to drawing up new
narcotics legislation.

The Dutch government may, however, find the going uphill. It wants local
councils and coffee shops themselves to stop foreigners from buying pot, but
neither seem keen to comply. Both the councils and the cafes say they
believe that the move would merely push the entire drugs trade underground
and force people to buy off street dealers and criminals.

There is also the small matter of money. In 1999, the latest year for which
figures are available, Dutch coffee shops turned over =80300m (UKP210m) -
money which is all subject to government tax.

The Dutch government is therefore faced with a stark choice: to keep taking
the money or to appease the Germans.

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