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Belgium, Germany Need to Open Their Own Cannabis Coffee Shops, Says Dutch Mayor

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Gerd Leers, the mayor of the Dutch border town of Maastricht, has called for neighboring Belgium and Germany to open their own cannabis coffee shops and regulate the sale of marijuana in a bid to reduce the flow of "drug tourists" pouring into his city. He also said the regulation of cannabis is a problem that should be addressed at the European level.

"The best way out of the problem is for Europe's political leaders to sit together, listen to these problems and open their eyes for a real solution," Leers said.

The German and Belgian governments have complained for years that their citizens are going to Holland to purchase cannabis. Dutch authorities, meanwhile, complain of crime and congestion associated with foreigners at the coffee shops, and the conservative Dutch government is considering various schemes to bar foreigners from enjoying the shops. An estimated 1.5 million "drug tourists" visit Maastricht each year, according to official estimates.

Leers' comments came in an interview with EUX-TV, in which he responded to an angry letter sent by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhoftstadt to Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende. Verhostadt was objecting about Maastricht plans to relocate some of its coffee shops to within walking distance of the Belgian border.

While Belgium has decriminalized marijuana possession, it has no provision for the supply of cannabis. But Verhostadt's complaints may have more to do with a pending Belgian parliamentary election, and Belgium is part of the problem anyway, said Leers.

"Verhofstadt should first carefully read my proposals and my ideas, instead of presenting them in a simplistic way to the people during an election campaign," he said. "The point is that he does not have a clear idea about what I am doing. I invite him to discuss this. We are not bringing our coffee shops to the border... we are just trying to overcome the problems around the coffee shops, to make them manageable," he said.

Belgium should deal with its marijuana users at home, Leers said. "What he is doing, he is bringing his clients to Maastricht, and then you should be fair. Either he bans the use of drugs completely, and fights against it. Or he should give it free and organize a way of selling these drugs to the people. But he should not complain because Maastricht is trying to get rid of all these problems that are caused by the Belgians themselves," Leers complained. "They say that we are exporting our drugs problems because we have our so-called coffee shops where you can use small amounts of drugs. But it's exactly the other way round. They are causing our problems because they are sending their clients, their inhabitants because in Belgium and Germany you can't buy it."

While conservative European governments insist that the Dutch could solve the problem by shutting down their coffee shops, Leers begged to differ. "If closing them were the solution, I would be the first one to do it," he said. "But the point is -- and it's been proven -- is that if you 'say no to drugs,' it goes underground. It becomes illegal and then the problem would be even worse. I think it's better to regulate and keep your hands on it than to close your eyes. Be open for new solutions, because the way we are doing it now, we are losing, and the criminals will be the winners, the big winners. They earn a lot of money. Let's stop that. Let's organize it. Let's regulate it, so that we can clear it up for our people."

maastricht-coffee-shop.jpg

downstairs of a coffee shop, Maastricht (courtesy Wikimedia)



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Website: Europe: Belgium, Germany Need to Open Their Own Cannabis Coffee Shops, Says Dutch Mayor | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)
 

classclown

New Member
Did the 60's not occur in belgium/germany? Where did all the real people go? If we ruled then, where are all the kids now? I was and still am a kid. Still nurtured and loved under the care of mommy marijuana and I'm never going anywhere else. I knew there were a few jerks who didn't like being free but g-dam! This is a no-brainer.
 
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