Does prohibition ever get it right? In just two months’ time, illegal black market trafficking of marijuana has increased in the Netherlands after the establishment of a compulsory “weed pass” that Dutch citizens must obtain in order to purchase cannabis from Holland’s famed coffeeshops.
The membership system was introduced on May 1 to three southern Dutch provinces, intended to prevent residents from nearby nations like Germany and Belgium – disparaged by the government and media as “drug tourists” – from flooding the Netherlands in order to smoke the finest pot in Europe.
A privately commissioned study conducted by the University of Tilburg (Tilburg being one of the cities affected by the “weed pass”) found that illegal pot sales have increased since May 1. Young adults age 18-24 and those of a non-Dutch non-Caucasian background are the primary purchasers of street pot, which is most often sold by those of an immigrant background from countries like Morocco, Hungary, Albania, Romania, and Northern France.
Besides the fact that quality and cultivating integrity of black market pot cannot be properly controlled as is the case with coffeeshop cannabis, street dealers often peddle harder, more dangerous drugs, which could tempt some of these young buyers. In the coffeeshop culture there is no such exposure to hard drugs.
In 2013, the “weed pass” will encompass all of the Netherlands and at this rate, it’s not hard to imagine the extent to which the illegal street sales will proliferate. But perhaps that is what it will take to get The Hague (the seat of Dutch government located in South Holland) to realize any form of prohibition inevitably backfires.
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