Netherlands backing off on restrictions

No surprise here.

In some of the border areas in the Netherlands there was concern among some political leaders about the amount of “pot tourism” — people from other countries coming to enjoy the cannabis cafes — and so they started implementing rules limited the cafes to local residents and establishing a database of users.

This was seized upon by prohibitionists here in the states as “proof” that legalization (or the Netherlands’ version of it) was a failure and that they wanted to reverse their experiment.

Here’s Kevin Sabet practically gloating just recently:

We know a few things about the Netherlands. First and foremost, we know that in that country officials and the public have become increasingly uneasy with their de facto legalization policies. In fact, they are completely reversing them – closing down pot shops, restricting who can buy marijuana (Sorry, American college students!), etc.

Of course, all the proposed changes actually proved was that there was a problem with neighboring countries’ prohibition policies that caused excess traffic in the Netherlands.

And now…

Maastricht mayor does u-turn over cannabis club membership

Locals in Maastricht should no longer have to formally register as marijuana users to buy soft drugs from the city’s cannabis cafes, mayor Onno Hoes said in a letter to councillors on Wednesday. [...]

At the same time, so few locals have registered as cannabis users that changes need to be made in the way the membership system works. Because locals are reluctant to register, ID and an official council certificate stating where they live should be sufficient to buy marijuana, the mayor is quoted as saying.

Nos says Hoes also hopes this will reduce the number of street dealers who have appeared since the ban was introduced.

So, to recap, despite what prohibition advocates claim, there has never been any significant interest in re-criminalizing marijuana use in the Netherlands, but rather only to reduce pot tourism and add regulations. Now, even those efforts are being re-considered because if you clamp down too hard, it causes the black market to re-surface.

The Netherlands continues to be a powerful demonstration of the advantages to society of providing a legal framework for marijuana, and the disadvantages when you do not.

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