Gastbeitrag von Marc Josemans: Update on the wietpas rules (englisch)

Ich habe es ja bereits vor kurzem angekündigt, nun ist es soweit: Marc Josemans, den hier wohl jeder kennen dürfte, hat mir eine längere Mail mit seiner Sicht der Dinge geschrieben. Ich habs mal in englisch gelassen, ich hoffe, dass das kein Problem für Euch ist!

EDIT: Vielen Dank an Sebastian für die Übersetzung des Beitrages in den Kommentaren!

Of course it was to be expected and many specialists already warned in advance: the wietpas rules (discrimination of foreign visitors and permanent registration of Dutch residents) only will bring more trouble instead of the answers we were waiting for. And now it is a proven fact, in the 3 southern provinces of Holland local governments are experiencing more street- and house dealers and residents refuse to register themselves in great numbers. So where did they go, these Dutch blowers? Well, they use a system called the wiettaxi. You simply dial a number, place your order and within 15 min. somebody rings at your door to deliver. Not much nuisance for the neighbourhood and around 50% cheaper because these guys do not pay any taxes or other overhead costs like staff. So even if we would lose the registration part it will prove to be very difficult to seduce these customers to come back to the coffeeshop.

So why are there so many street dealers if the Dutch residents refuse to buy their goods? They serve only to both national and international visitors (tourists) who also want to smoke a joint. Isn’t it possible for these people to buy in the illegal circuit of their own country? Of course, but many do not want to take the risk to get a criminal record when they are caught buying weed or hash in their own country. This can turn against you if later in your career you want to join the army or the police or become a lawyer or maybe even the next Bundes Kansler of Germany. So they simply avoid the risk and buy in Holland, understandable. Would Barack Obama, who admitted that he used weed in his younger years, would have become president of the USA if he would have registered himself in his younger years? Certainly not, I think we all can agree on that.

So our new national government has strong doubts about the registration part and therefore they want to change the rules, registration in the coffeeshop is no longer necessary. But you do need a GBA registration, this is a prove (a letter) that you are a resident of Holland and you can buy it at the Town Hall. But it is only valid for 3 months, so you have to buy another one each 3 months. In this way you will still be registered, maybe not in the coffeeshop but certainly at your local Town Hall, read government. Again, this will not solve the problems we are experiencing right now and it will certainly not help bringing down the number of street dealers.

Also the new national government wants to allow cities to install the wietpas rules in their own speed. This means that the other provinces are not forced to install the new rules on the 1th January 2013. The mayor of Amsterdam immediately announced that he was not going to refuse foreign coffeeshop visitors. The minister of Justice already corrected him yesterday by saying that the whole of Holland should follow the rules, just the speed is something they are allowed to decide for themselves. Already many cities want to follow the Amsterdam example. So it will be possible after 01-01-2013 to still visit coffeeshops in other parts of Holland. But as you know I refused to discriminate foreigners and started a court case.

Finally on the 4th December we will have our court case, here in Maastricht. There are 3 important court cases about the wietpas rules the coming month. And then we will finally know what is possible and what is not.

I still expect to win this court case, because of the fact that our own xenophobic mayor states that the only problems we are experiencing in Maastricht is heavy traffic flow. You cannot discriminate people for that!! There are many other, less “heavy” solutions available to solve that problem. Spreading the coffeeshops by relocating 7 shops to the edge of the town. This would happen in May 201, but when the discrimination stays, nobody wants to move their shop under these conditions. Especially because we have to pay everything ourselves, the government doesn’t contribute one Euro….

So my coffeeshop will stay closed until the verdict is given by the judges, probably half of January 2013. Then we will know for sure, but hopefully I can receive you again as we always have for the last 29 years.

The conclusion is that half of the wietpas rules are already voluntarily withdrawn by our minister of Justice, an evaluation later this month will learn more. Maybe he withdraws also the discrimination, but don’t count on that! But if he doesn’t do it himself, we will force him through the judge’s verdict. Let’s stay positive and hopefully everybody can visit the coffeeshops in Maastricht as soon as possible. I will keep you updated,

Warm regards and many thanks for the big support, Marc Josemans