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  1. As US states allow pot sales, Dutch reverse course

    Associated Press
    07 March 2014
    Other news

    The Netherlands, the world pioneer in pot liberalization, has recently taken a harder line toward marijuana, with mixed results seen particularly in border towns such as Maastricht. Maastricht's street dealers are back, local residents complain. And the reason is a crackdown on coffee-shops triggered by another problem: Pot tourists who crossed the border to visit the cafes and made a nuisance of themselves.

  2. D66 Liberals to draft regulated marijuana production proposal

    20 November 2013
    Other news

    The D66 Liberal party, currently the second biggest party in The Netherlands in recent polls, is drawing up draft legislation for the regulated production of marijuana. At the moment it is illegal to grow marijuana. This means there is a grey area between the official policy of turning a blind eye towards possessing small amounts of marijuana and the supply to coffee shops. (See also:  Majority of the Dutch favour cannabis legalisation)

  3. Most Dutch councils ignore ban on marijuana sales to tourists

    18 February 2014
    Other news

    Tourists are still able to buy marijuana in 85% of the Netherlands' cannabis cafes despite the national ban on selling soft drugs to non-residents, according to Tilburg University researcher Nicole Maalsté. Most local authorities have incorporated the ban into their local bylaws but do nothing to enforce it. However, non-residents are excluded from coffee shops in 23 of the 103 local council areas with licenced cannabis cafes. These are mainly in the southern regions.

  4. Heerlen mayor criticises government marijuana policy

    07 July 2014
    Other news

    The Dutch government's cannabis policy has created a monster whose tentacles are spreading throughout the country, according to Paul Depla the mayor of Heerlen. Depla, one of 35 mayors who want production of marijuana to be legalised, said that government policy is making it far too easy for people to become criminals. 'Under the current policy, all you need is an attic and you can start growing marijuana,' Depla said. 'This has created a monster with tentacles that reach everywhere.'

  5. Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy

    16 March 2009
    Other news

    The owner and several employees of the biggest coffee shop in the Netherlands are being prosecuted for membership of a criminal organisation. The outcome of the trial can have a huge impact on soft drugs policy in the Netherlands. If Meddy Willemsen, the owner of the mega coffee shop Checkpoint in Terneuzen, is convicted of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organised supply chain, more proprietors of coffee shops could face prosecution as gang leaders. (See also: Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  6. European court weighs cannabis ban for foreigners

    02 May 2010
    Other news

    A Dutch city has banned foreigners from its cannabis selling coffee shops. A European court will now decide whether this is legal. The continuing struggle of Dutch border towns against drug tourism could soon take a new turn, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) prepares to hand down a ruling regarding one of the most severe measures employed in this battle so far. The ECJ heard arguments in Josemans v. Maastricht. (See also: Court backs Dutch ruling on coffee shops)

  7. Councils can ban tourists from coffee shops, Council of State rules

    17 June 2014
    Other news

    Local councils in the Netherlands do have the power to ban people who do not live in their area from visiting cannabis cafes, the Council of State ruled. Preventing drugs tourism and combating organised crime are legitimate aims to allow selection on the basis of nationality, the country's highest legal body said. 'The residence criterion is a proportionate measure for combating drugs tourism and this legitimate objective cannot be achieved by other, less radical means,’ the council said in a statement. (See also: Most Dutch councils ignore ban on marijuana sales to tourists)

  8. Marijuana’s big-money Marley Brand makes a splash

    24 November 2014
    Other news

    Last week, NBC’s Today Show giddily announced an exclusive: Privateer Holdings, the Seattle marijuana company long acclaimed locally for its straight, corporate image and Ivy-League-educated bosses, was launching “the first global pot brand” based on the legacy of Bob Marley. The company is likely to start selling pot overseas, says Privateer public-relations director Zack Hutson, previously a spokesperson for Starbucks. “We’re in discussions with a distributor in Israel” – a country with a federally legal medical-marijuana system. Hutson also cites Uruguay and the Netherlands as potential early markets.

  9. Coffee shop owner sentenced for running criminal organisation

    24 March 2010
    Other news

    The owner of the Netherlands' largest cannabis-selling coffee shop was convicted for running a criminal organisation that purchased large quantities of drugs and processed and stored them. Meddy Willemsen, of the Checkpoint coffee shop in the southern border town Terneuzen, was given a 10 milion euro fine.The Middelburg district court ruled the cafe regularly had more than the legal limit of 500 grammes of cannabis on its premises. (See also: Coffee shop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy | Owner of massive cannabis café cleared of most charges on appeal)

  10. Senators want minister's answers on marijuana supply issues

    13 July 2014
    Other news

    The senate has written to justice minister Ivo Opstelten summoning him to explain what he is doing to deal with the problem of illegal marijuana production in the Netherlands. Opstelten and home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk will be grilled by senators in September about the grey area between sanctioned sales in cannabis cafes and the supply side. In the letter from the senate’s justice committee, senators state that Opstelten has not changed his position, despite being urged to do so by over half of the country’s mayors.

  11. Dutch government to ban tourists from cannabis shops?

    Tom Blickman
    28 June 2011
    Article

    Under legislation spearheaded by the conservative government, only Dutch residents will be allowed to enter cannabis-selling coffeeshops. The Dutch government announced on Friday, 27 May, that it will push ahead with plans requiring those purchasing marijuana in the country’s coffeeshops to first obtain an official pass — a move designed to curtail tourists from buying the drug. The announcement hit the international headlines.

  12. opstelten-doof

    The Netherlands is ready to regulate cannabis

    Tom Blickman, Martin Jelsma
    19 December 2013
    Article

    Barely a week after an opinion poll showed that 65% of the Dutch are in favour of regulating cannabis production just as in Uruguay, the minister of Justice and Security of The Netherlands, Ivo Opstelten, told parliament that he will not allow regulated cannabis cultivation to supply the coffeeshops in the country. Two in three large municipal councils back regulated cannabis cultivation, but the minister will probably not allow a single one of the 25 proposals to experiment with regulated cultivation that have been submitted.

  13. Drug use is an issue for society, not the criminal justice system

    Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet
    10 September 2012
    Other news

    There is no reliable evidence that tougher criminal sanctions deter drug use or offending. On the contrary, criminalisation worsens the health and wellbeing of drug users, increases risk behaviours, drives the spread of HIV, encourages other crime and discourages drug users from seeking treatment. A report by Australia21, Alternatives to Prohibition, subtitled Illicit drugs: how we can stop killing and criminalising young Australians, sets out the lessons learnt about the failed war on drugs from other countries, especially Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Portugal.

  14. De Nederlandse kabinetsplannen in internationaal perspectief

    Martin Jelsma
    02 October 2011
    Article

    Na een lange periode van pragmatisme en gedurfde vernieuwingen van het drugsbeleid, waarmee Nederland ook internationaal een pioniersrol innam, is er – zoals de Commissie Van de Donk constateerde al jarenlang sprake van beleidsverwaarlozing. Die feitelijke stilstand dreigt met de huidige kabinetsplannen om te slaan naar achteruitgang. Er zijn een aantal goede redenen om daarover ernstig bezorgd te zijn, niet alleen ten behoeve van de verworvenheden hier in Nederland, maar ook bezien vanuit recente internationale ontwikkelingen.

  15. Small Dutch city is hub for European khat sales

    25 January 2012
    Other news

    A small Dutch city less than 20 kilometres from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport has become the hub of Europe's sales of khat, a plant chewed for its stimulant qualities, soon to be banned in the Netherlands. In a discreet warehouse tucked away in the city of Uithoorn, around a hundred Somalis and Yemenis were haggling over the latest delivery: a tonne of khat. But 15 of the European Union's 27 states and Norway have already listed khat as an illegal narcotic and the Netherlands too announced earlier this month it would ban khat.

  16. UK could become 'smuggling hub' for herbal high khat

    25 January 2012
    Other news

    The UK could become a hub for smuggling the herbal stimulant khat, European police and politicians have warned. The Netherlands is the latest country to outlaw the sale of the plant, which is now banned in sixteen EU member states and Norway. Khat is freely sold in the UK and observers say the UK's isolated stance could make it the main base for Europe's khat trade. The British government has commissioned a new review of khat use.

  17. France catches up with khat users

    19 March 2013
    Other news

    According to figures released by the French Customs, seizures of khat are soaring, up from 1.8 tonnes in 2011 to 4.5 tonnes in 2012, putting it on a par with cocaine (4.6 tonnes) but still far behind cannabis (24 tonnes). The rising interception rate does not mean consumption in France is increasing. Half of last month's haul was found in the freight zone of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. "France is a transit country," says Sébastien Tiran, general-secretary at the CDG Customs headquarters. The Netherlands ban has driven prices in Paris sharply upwards.

  18. Utrecht hopes to set up cannabis clubs - for medical research

    16 April 2013
    Other news

    Two foundations in Utrecht are to apply for exemption from the opium laws so they can set up ‘cannabis clubs’ to grow marijuana for medical research with city council backing, the Volkskrant reports. Council alderman Victor Everhardt, who is behind the plans, hopes his ‘cannabis club’ concept can become a reality on public health grounds. (See also: Utrecht wants 'cannabis clubs' to be allowed to grow drug for medical research)

  19. Maastricht mayor does u-turn over cannabis club membership

    05 September 2012
    Other news

    Locals in Maastricht should no longer have to formally register as marijuana users to buy soft drugs from the city’s cannabis cafes, mayor Onno Hoes said in a letter to councillors. Since May 1, cannabis cafes in the south of the country have been turned into member-only clubs in an effort to keep out foreigners. Only locals, who can prove they live in the area, are allowed to sign up for membership. Hoes says the number of foreigners trying to buy soft drugs has fallen so sharply that the membership cards are no longer necessary.

  20. Dutch mayors call for growing marijuana

    23 November 2008
    Other news

    The Dutch government should licence the growing and supply of marijuana to the country’s 700 or so coffee shops that sell cannabis, according to a group of around 30 Dutch mayors. This is the conclusion of the ‘cannabis summit’ at which the mayors discussed the country’s policy on soft drugs. The mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel, said his city is prepared to run a ‘monitored pilot scheme’ to assess if a system of licenced growers reduces drugs-related crime.

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