Press release of the Union for Abolition of Cannabis prohibition
27 april 2012
THE HAGUE – After the verdict of the court in The Hague in the courtcase against the Dutch State the Union for Abolition of Cannabis prohibition concludes the following.
This verdict makes us bitter. The judge has accepted that discrimination against non-residents in Dutch coffeeshops is permitted as a measure to combat public nuisance and crime in the illegal cannabis circuit. The relationship between these issues has never been demonstrated.
Apart from the expectation that the introduction of the ‘weedpass’ in the southern Netherlands on 1 May, will precisely lead to more nuisance and crime, the court has completely ignored the fact that the current regulation for coffeeshops (defined in the so-called AHOJG- criteria) already provides sufficiently for measures to diminish public nuisance, cannabis related crime is the result of the ban on the cultivation of this plant.
Moreover, the ‘weedpass’ violates Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of origin. Last year, the State Council concluded that this measure would be permitted in the city of Maastricht, but only if there exists serious disturbance of public order, which can no longer be countered by other, less serious measures. Even in Maastricht, one of the cities with many foreign coffeeshop visitors, neither of these two conditions are fulfilled.
What does exist is public nuisance and crime caused by the illegal cannabis circuit. The real solution to this problem starts with the regulation of the backdoor of the coffeeshop. In the past drugs debate in the Dutch parliament, five parties (PvdA, D66, Green Left, SP and PvdD) proposed steps in this direction, such as those that are currently taking place in other countries.
The VOC will continue to oppose the weedpass and awaits with confidence the decision of the court of appeal. We also put our hope on the court that will deal with the trial processes that will now be carried out against those coffee shops who refuse to treat non-residents differently as residents. In the near future they will symbolize the opposition to a government-imposed obligation to discriminate.Republish