“In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end,”
These words were stated issued by the Dutch health and Justice Ministers in a joint strongly worded letter to Parliament four months ago. The Laws are coming into force tighter than anyone ever expected after a spate of serious fines and imprisonments most notably a 10million euro fine to a cafe owner who was also sentenced to sixteen weeks in prison. No longer the land of hookers, drugs, cheese and dykes but a country battling to restore its image as Europe’s economies slide and falter. A government committee has declared that cannabis with higher than 15% THC be declared Hard Drugs. Only the district of Maastrict has obeyed the rules of abstaining from selling cannabis to tourists and one wonders that regardless traveling masses will find a way to get what they truly desire.
From 2012 onwards it may be that each cafe of between 1000-1500 adult dutch citizens inclusively will operate similar to a nightclub with members only allowed. The issue of these new laws has put the spot light on the producers of cannabis for commercial use whose status is still illegal, loopholes do exist with a dutch citizen entitled to grow up to five grams for personal use but when it comes to the issue of wide scale distribution and production the authorities have yet to clamp down.
The drug tourism worth 100s of millions of euro to the Dutch economy may go up in smoke or possibly lead to an underground black market of dutch cannabis cafe club members selling their memberships or drugs for inflated prices or for the use of their passports.
Whatever happens over the next five to six months one thing is sure the sex trade in the Netherlands is either braced for a surge in revenue from disgruntled cannabis consumers or a slide from drug tourists who make the pilgrimage to a new more lax nation that is waiting in the wings to take up the mantle.