Green Room

‘Liberal’ the Netherlands Joins War on Drugs

posted at 12:34 pm on May 29, 2011 by

For some reason, the Dutch government has suddenly decided to wage war on marijuana. As most foreigners undoubtedly know, the Dutch ‘tolerate’ the use of this soft drug. Heck, it’s one of the primary reasons hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Amsterdam every year; that and the famous Red Light District.

Well, the government has now decided that enough is enough. Justice minister Ivo Opstelten announced last week that he’ll introduce a so-called weed-card.  Dutchmen who want to smoke weed have to show this card to the coffeeshop owner. If they don’t own one, they can’t buy themselves a joint.

Although the card is obviously an annoyance to many Dutchmen, the ones truly hurt by it are the tourists; the card will only be available to Dutch citizens.

The Dutch tourist branch is, therefore, not exactly charmed by Opstelten’s plan. And why would they? They could very well face losses of hundreds of millions of euros – and that at a time when Europe’s economies are already struggling.

Not only will this plan be enormously costly, it’s also likely to be extremely ineffective: many tourists will undoubtedly find a Dutchman willing to buy some drugs for them (against a minor fee, of course). Perhaps they’ll even be able to buy it themselves – not in a coffee shop but at a street corner.

Which brings me to my third (and final) objection to Opstelten’s unsavory plan: drug dealers will undoubtedly take over the streets. Heck, perhaps even entire neighborhoods. And how is the government going to combat that? With the tiny, useless Dutch police force? Right. Well, that’s at least going to be… entertaining.

Being tough on crime is a wonderful idea, but declaring war on soft drugs isn’t exactly a smart move; especially not when a country is facing many other – real, rather than imagined – problems.

* Although I’m pro-legalization of soft drugs, by the way, I don’t use it myself. Just to make that clear.

This post first appeared at Right Across The Atlantic: the Internet-home for conservative and libertarian Europeans and Americans. Follow me on Twitter here.

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Dumkoff. As noted, there’s bigger fish to fry. I think this initiative is DOA with tourist season just weeks ahead.

AH_C on May 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Way too little, way too late. Enjoy the rewards your nation deserves for surrendering to the stoners.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 29, 2011 at 5:44 PM

For some reason, the Dutch government has suddenly decided to wage war on marijuana.

For some reason?

Maybe you could look into the total mystery as to why that might be happening?

Here’s a clue

Unidentified gunmen fire 81 shots at a house in a residential neighbourhood, probably with a machine gun. A man is found dead inside a burned-out Mercedes on a quiet stretch of woodland road. Elsewhere, hand grenades are thrown into a ‘coffeeshop’ during the night. No one is hurt, but the shop, which is licensed to sell small amounts of marijuana to the public, is severely damaged.

A wave of drugs-related violence is rocking the southern part of the Netherlands. The mayor of a small Dutch city has even gone into hiding after repeated threats to his life. And Eindhoven Mayor Rob van Gijzel is urging the national government to step in and send police reinforcements:

“We have relatively few police officers. All our policing capacity goes into investigating the gangland killings themselves. There just isn’t the manpower to find out how the criminal networks operate. That’s why we can’t tackle them directly. The ongoing investigations also mean we have less time to deal with other types of crime.”

‘Coffeeshops’ ban
Many communities have been trying to tackle the problems generated by ‘coffeeshops’. Two cities have banned the cannabis outlets altogether and, last year, the mayor of Maastricht tried to move them all out of the city centre.

sharrukin on May 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Michael van der Galien, the grammar, usage, & punctuation problems within your essay might be attributable to English being your second or third language, so we’ll let them slide. However, there’s no excuse for your faulty attempts at logic.

itsnotaboutme on May 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

However, there’s no excuse for your faulty attempts at logic.

itsnotaboutme on May 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Not to mention playing the French defense all over the place.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM

The problem seems to be that there is a limited government-allowed monopoly which creates an inviting target for criminals in the absence of an effective police force, thus replicating the prohibitionist problems. Also, I’m wondering if Islamists might be targeting these shops as well.

ebrown2 on May 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Michael van der Galien, the grammar, usage, & punctuation problems within your essay might be attributable to English being your second or third language, so we’ll let them slide. However, there’s no excuse for your faulty attempts at logic.

itsnotaboutme on May 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Whoever the hell you are, if all you can do is critique grammar, you shouldn’t even be commenting. Good grief.

MadisonConservative on May 30, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Whoever the hell you are, if all you can do is critique grammar, you shouldn’t even be commenting. Good grief.

MadisonConservative on May 30, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Put a sock in it.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 30, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Put a sock in it.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 30, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Cute. Never ceases to amaze me how the debate over legalization brings out the liberal debating tactics in those against.

MadisonConservative on May 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Cute. Never ceases to amaze me how the debate over legalization brings out the liberal debating tactics in those against.

MadisonConservative on May 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

While the stoner’s arguments boil down to “ah wunt mah pot!”, and damn the consequences to society.

If someone said similar things about surrendering in the War on Terror, you’d rightly call them a traitor and a coward.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Uncle Sam: third language, thank you very much. When your Dutch is as good as my English, call me. Until then, I suggest you take your own advice: put a sock in it.

Michael van der Galien on May 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM

And something else: if you call this an ‘essay’ it’s all the evidence I need to conclude you probably never finished high school. Essay? This is an essay? It’s a blog post. It’s something you write quickly, in a matter of minutes.

Dope.

Michael van der Galien on May 31, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Doesn’t their policy speak for itself? Its not based on theory or conjecture. They’ve got some big problems, and the Dutch are getting sick of it.

I’m not big on the war on drugs and think the alcohol laws are too tight. But they are not randomly doing this. Its an enough is enough moment.

swamp_yankee on June 1, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Unidentified gunmen fire 81 shots at a house in a residential neighbourhood, probably with a machine gun.

Pretty sure the shooters were not stoners. Unless, that is, they were driving lazy boy’s and bullets were coming out of their TV remotes.

Haldol on June 2, 2011 at 10:32 AM