Press Release from VOCM [The Union of Maastricht Coffeeshops]
April 30, 2012
MAASTRICHT – The coffeeshops of Maastricht, united in the VOCM, will continue to refuse to cooperate with the weedpass regulations. VOCM chairman Marc Josemans: “Too much is still unclear about the privacy concerns, but also on the exact requirements of the Minister. Therefore we will not register customers and will continue to sell to anyone aged 18 and older who can identify himself. ”
It is still unclear which persons and entities will be authorized to have access to the mandatory membership data of the coffeeshop that the weedpass regulations require. It is worrying that the minister of security and justice indicated on April 27 that he will ignore the critical observations of the Council for Data Protection (CBP), published on April 18. The VOCM is a principal opponent of mandatory registration and permanent storage of personal data. At present, no clarification has been provided to the consumer nor the coffeeshop concerning the question who will be allowed to have access to these records on behalf of the authorities, and what may be done with the data.
The VOCM will pursue a dual policy beginning May 1st, the day the enforcement of the new rules will start in the south of the Netherlands. At 10.15 AM, Chairman Josemans will refuse a small number of non-residents access to his coffee shop, Easy Going, so they can report him to the police for discrimination. Immediately thereafter at 11.00 AM, the sale will continue as usual to non-residents and residents who do not wish to register. All VOCM members will refuse to discriminate and to register clients.
Maastricht is now faced with drug runners who have never been spotted in the city before, coming from Liege, eastern Europe and northern France. They are using flyers explaining the new rules that were issued by the city of Maastricht in order to lure tourists! Thus we are rapidly returning to a long gone past where a separation of markets for cannabis and hard drugs did not exist and dealers were controlling the streets.
The VOCM agrees with the dozens of mayors, city councils and MPs, many scientists, centres for addiction and consumer organizations who consider the weedpass and the closed club as counterproductive, symbolic policies.
The new rules will not lead to less, but to more public nuisance and crime. Hundreds of jobs are being sacrificed to a project that is doomed to fail and only benefits the illegal circuit. The losers are the residents of our city, the shopkeepers and the many satisfied clients who have been coming here for many years to buy cannabis without any inconvenience, and in a safe, controlled environment, where all rules are strictly followed.
One thing is clear: it will be a long hot summer. According to the VOCM, the weedpass and the closed club are the illegitimate progeny of the failed government of the demissioned PM Rutte. Josemans: “Let’s forget this right wing hobby and focus on the real problem: the “back door”. This is the Achilles heel of Dutch cannabis policy. When we finally start to regulate the cultivation of cannabis and supply to the coffeeshops, we will kill three birds with one stone: significantly less crime, huge profits for public health and one billion euro a year extra in the national treasury. ”Republish