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Future Dutch Government wants to close 400 coffeeshops.

It starting to become clear that some of the Dutch cannabis coffeeshops are
going to have a hard time in the near future, as soon as the new government
is installed. The coalition that will be in power in the Dutch parliament,
the Tweede Kamer, will consist of the CDA, a Christian Conservative party,
and the PvdA, the major Dutch Socialist Party. The CDA has always been
against coffeeshops, they want a zero-tolerance policy, but could not get
any support for that in their latest attempt to rule Holland, with List
Fortuyn (LPF) and the VVD. The LPF was in favour of full legalisation of
cannabis, so a status quo was the only alternative, meaning the coffeeshops
were left alone. The coalition only lasted 86 days, the new elections were
last January, the CDA and the PvdA ended up as the two biggest parties in
the Netherlands, and together they have enough Chairs to makeup a majority
in government.

The PvdA was involved in the two previous cabinets, which came up with the
current cannabis policy in 1996, that policy, following the AHOJG criteria,
caused the closure of about 650 coffeeshops since then.

Today, the PvdA stated they agree with the CDA on their stance towards
coffeeshops, a major disappointment for a lot of cannabis smokers that
voted PvdA, like myself. The PvdA feels that coffeeshops in the surrounding
of schools should be closed at short notice, like the CDA suggests.

Van Heemst, the PvdA spokesman: "Years ago, we agreed that coffeeshops
would be prohibited to be located near places where a lot of kids come
together. In practice, I still see them there, in Rotterdam there is even a
coffeeshop opposite a school for children with correctional education."

Donner, the present and new Minister of Justice, expects to be able to
close 400 coffeeshops, out of the current 800, a decrease of 50%! Donner's
plans to act tough against coffeeshops will have a majority in the Tweede
Kamer, the VVD is in favour too, who now state they already agreed upon
that in the previous coalition, another group of backstabbers, they too
participated in the Purple coalition, with the PvdA.

Donner's motivation for his crusade against cannabis is the Gateway theory,
supposing that the use of cannabis will lead to the use of hard drugs, an
old story, which has been found unfounded based on research in many
countries, even the USA.

Minister Donner does not seem to know how the Dutch figures on drug use and
- -abuse compare to the other countries in the EU, Holland is only 12th of
the EU in cannabis consumption, with coffeeshops!

Donner just bows for international pressure, but closing 50% of the
coffeeshops will not make much of an impression to the critics, they want
them all shut, and all cannabis growers locked up, like in the USA, they
even lock people up for selling waterpipes! I suspect Donner is in bed with
the DEA, they have about 80 agents in The Hague, so they must have been at
least in touch with our Minister of Justice.

Belgium is going to decriminalise the possession of 5 grams of cannabis for
personal use, and the cultivation of 1 cannabis plant per person in March
2003, how long will the UN and the US allow that country to 'step out of
bounds'? I am sure the DEA in Brussels are already at it.

Thursday, February 27, 2003
Haarlem, the Netherlands
By: Nol van Schaik, coffeeshopowner in the Netherlands.
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