No one other than Dutch residents will be allowed to buy marijuana in southern Holland cannabis coffee shops after January 1, the Dutch Justice Ministry said Tuesday. The stated objective of the move is to spare locals the nuisance of drug tourism, but if the experience of one city is any indicator, it will also spare locals millions of dollars in receipts.
November 15th 2011
For more than a year, the center right government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been considering making coffee shops members only clubs, with a "cannabis card" reserved for Dutch nationals required to enter one of the country's 670 cannabis cafes. The new policy is being rolled out regionally, with southern border provinces the first to see it go into effect. "The measure will come into force for the provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland, the provinces most affected by drug tourism, on January 1," Justice Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Menten said.
The new policy will be extended nationwide in January 2013, Menten added. The southern city of Maastricht holds some clues as to what impact the new policy will have. In a pilot program since October 1, the city's 13 cannabis cafes have been allowed to serve only Dutch, Belgian, and German customers in a bid to reduce drug tourism from France. The Daily Telegraph reported this week that cutting off the French will cost the city nearly $42 million a year in revenues, the equivalent of the loss of 345 full-time jobs.
USA/Washington: Tacoma Passes Lowest Priority Marijuana Initiative
Voters in Tacoma, Washington, overwhelmingly approved an initiative Tuesday directing the city to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority.
The measure passed by a margin of 65% to 35%. Organized under the auspices of the Cannabis Reform Act for the City of Tacoma, the initiative, known as I-1, directs Tacoma police and prosecutors to "make the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of cannabis (a/k/a 'marijuana') offenses the lowest enforcement priority, as this term may be defined in their policies and procedures manuals, for adult personal use."
Supporters of the initiative included medical marijuana patients, who argued that it would allow sick people in Tacoma to use their medicine without fear of legal consequences. Supporters also argued that the implementation of the measure would free up law enforcement resources for more serious matters.
USA/Michigan: Kalamazoo Passes Marijuana Lowest Priority Initiative
Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative making the use or possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults the lowest law enforcement priority.
The measure passed by a margin of nearly two-to-one, with 4,649 yes votes and 2,416 no votes.
USA: Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Approved for Circulation
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced Monday that two initiatives for marijuana legalization measures have been approved for circulation. Both were filed by attorney Dan Viets, a long-time marijuana legalization advocate and a member of the national NORML Legal Committee and board of directors.
Viets and Missouri NORML chapters have aligned themselves with other marijuana legalization advocates and supporters as Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, a reference to Missouri's nickname as the "Show Me" state. The two measures are identical, except that one would amend the state constitution and the other would amend state law. The initiatives call for marijuana legalization for persons 21 and over, a process for licensing marijuana establishments, and the lifting of criminal justice system sanctions against people imprisoned or under state supervision for nonviolent marijuana offenses that would no longer be illegal and the expunging of all criminal records for such offenses.
The initiatives would also allow for the use of marijuana for medical reasons by minors and allow the legislature to enact a tax of $100 a pound on retail marijuana sales.
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