Drug Policy

Dutch Pot Freedom Weakened

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The de facto drug liberty in the Dutch city of Maastricht is getting weaker: The AP is reporting that, thanks to a bummer of mayor who took office in 2002, licensed "coffee shops" in that town will "begin fingerprinting customers and scanning their IDs this summer to help prove they're following rules governing such sales." (The rules include age and amount-per-day limitations.)

The chairman of the Coffee Shop Union (yes, there is such a thing) laments that "This is not something that we are doing willingly, but with pain in our hearts. We're very afraid we're going to lose customers over this, and to be honest we're even a little ashamed we're doing it, but the city of Maastricht has such harsh punishments that we don't feel we have any choice."

The mayoral crackdown has led to 11 of Maastricht's 26 licensed shops being shut down.

[Link via Rational Review.]

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  1. So, their government now requires people to give Big Brother the finger?

  2. At first, I was excited, because I thought it said “Dutch Pot Freedom Weekend.”

    Of course, this is a market distortion problem: since marijuana is illegal elsewhere, people want to buy large quantities and take them somewhere it’s more difficult to get and hence more valuable.

    I suppose it’s reasonable to limit the quantities purchased, but the whole thing is so unnecessary.

  3. “At first, I was excited, because I thought it said “Dutch Pot Freedom Weekend.”

    You’re not the only one!

    This is the downside to legalizing drugs, we get licences and permits etc. But regulation still beats having it completely illegal.

    But we all know who is really behind this–its teh eurabia.
    /snark

  4. Still a great rifle plant, though.

  5. i was living in maastricht about a year ago and i remember one of the owners telling me that the real reason for all this was that the governments of aachen and liege (german and belgian towns on the border) were pissed that their citizens were bringing huge sacks of weed back over (apparently some of the shop owners were willing to play loose with the limit rules if they knew their customers weren’t dutch). unfortunately the whole country (except maybe amsterdam) is sort of edging its way towards restricting sales to dutch citizens only. maastricht is sort of a bougie town though and many of its reisdents parallel the rich conservatives found in american suburbs.

  6. Is Coffee regulated in Amsterdam? Why the fuck are they referred to as Coffee Shops? They are Weed Shops, thats stupid.

  7. I have a Dutch friend – Simone – who lives in The Hague. He tells me that all of this crackdown on marijuana in the Netherlands is a direct result of the rising tide of Islam throughout the country.

    Simone tells me that Muslims hate marijuana and are pushing local town councils to outlaw it, and also all prostitution. Worse, he relays that Muslims are now winning seats on local City Councils and pushing all sorts of restrictive legislation.

    How long will American libertarians continue to deny that Islam is fundamentally opposed to human liberty?

    We must fight back!!

  8. Next time I should bet $20 so I can collect.

  9. The mayoral crackdown has led to 11 of Maastricht’s 26 licensed shops being shut down.

    It’s about time that someone took a stance againce the plague of drugs that are poisoning America’s children.

  10. We must fight back!!

    I’m sorry. …are you suggesting “we” attack Muslims in the Netherlands?

  11. Simone tells me that Muslims hate marijuana and are pushing local town councils to outlaw it, and also all prostitution. Worse, he relays that Muslims are now winning seats on local City Councils and pushing all sorts of restrictive legislation.

    Don’t they have a right to serve in government? Also, the government has an obligation to outlaw anything that some people don’t like.

  12. You want your ‘right’ to get high, well how about my right to live in a drug free society? All dangerous drug users should be rounded up for some good old fashioned SEVERE PUNISHMENT.

  13. Joe (Joe the fascist troll,, not joe the liberal from MA)-

    I have a right to a prick free society. So, looks like you should be in prison.

  14. It’s still unclear to me why the libertarian response to this situation isn’t that if you don’t like the rules in Maastricht, then you’re free to leave or convince others to elect leaders that will change the laws.

    If the majority of residents of that town want to implement certain rules, then that’s their right. Who are we as outsiders to tell a community how to run their town?

  15. Hey Dan T.-

    How about we all vote to have a law that says we ban you form using a computer? After all, if you don’t like that idea, you can convince us otherwise.

  16. In fact Dan T., how come we just didn’t have a vote on whether or not to keep segregation in Alabama circa 1960? After all, if the majority favored it, it was right!

  17. “If the majority of residents of that town want to implement certain rules, then that’s their right. Who are we as outsiders to tell a community how to run their town?”

    Who gave the community the right to tell me how to live my life?

  18. Ken Shultz,

    You agreed to the terms of the Societal Contract when you decided to be conceived.

  19. Worse, he relays that Muslims are now winning seats on local City Councils and pushing all sorts of restrictive legislation.

    How long will American libertarians continue to deny that Islam is fundamentally opposed to human liberty?

    We must fight back!!

    Hey, I thought we invaded Iraq so we wouldn’t have to invade Holland….or something!!?!!

    Well, it made as much sense as Dondero’s comment.

  20. islam has nothing to do with it. a lot (maybe a majority of) dutch people don’t like muslims, and so they end up being the scapegoat of choice when it comes to public controversy. there have been attempts to crack down on weed ever since its ‘legalization’. this is an old pillar of the CDA and isn’t a new idea being forced onto the dutch by a microscopic minority of muslim policy makers.

  21. Who gave the community the right to tell me how to live my life?

    You did, by living there.

  22. Dan T.-

    Again, did the blacks in circa 1950s Alabama agree to segregation by living there? And should we have just put up segregation to a public vote, and if they chose to keep it (as they would have in 1960) do well tell blacks, “Hey, you agreed to the social contract!”

    Im curious to know.

  23. I agreed to tolerate the antics of a debating society. …so long as it doesn’t interfere with anything I’m trying to do.

    The older I get, the more it makes sense: The only people who have a right to complain are the people who don’t vote…

    We should amend the Constitution so that whenever the number of eligible voters who didn’t vote is greater than the number who did, the non-voters count as a “none of the above” vote and the seat stays vacant. …We’d only have a quorum in an emergency.

    Okay, it was just an idea. Somebody needs to do something about the illusion of legitimacy elections seem to bestow in the easily manipulated.

    …if it hadn’t been for that, we’d probably be out of Iraq already. I know that before I can be persuaded that holding elections in an occupied country instills legitimacy in the locals, I need to be persuaded that holding free elections bestows legitimacy in the minds of voters here.

    I’m sorry, I can’t carry a gun to defend myself or smoke in a restaurant or watch what I want on television or hire the guy I want to mow my lawn or any one of a zillion other things…because you held an election? …Screw your election! Screw you!

  24. In fact Dan T., how come we just didn’t have a vote on whether or not to keep segregation in Alabama circa 1960? After all, if the majority favored it, it was right!

    Well, that was the state’s rights argument wasn’t it?

    You could certainly make the case that the only freedom that a government morally has to guarantee its citizens is the right to leave.

  25. I’m sorry, I can’t carry a gun to defend myself or smoke in a restaurant or watch what I want on television or hire the guy I want to mow my lawn or any one of a zillion other things…because you held an election? …Screw your election! Screw you!

    Yeah. The next thing you know you won’t be able to kill people or take their stuff either. Damn civilization!

  26. Hey Dan Troll, have you ever heard of something called “rights of the minority?”

    And the rights of the individual come before the rights of states, by the way. But I see you have taken Strom Thurmond’s position.

  27. “You did, by living there.”

    …and what’s more American than that?

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal in that they have to do what we say because they live here.

  28. “Yeah. The next thing you know you won’t be able to kill people or take their stuff either. Damn civilization!”

    Yeah, and smoking marijuana in a coffee house in Maastricht is just like stealing and murder…

    …except that it’s nothing like stealing or murder.


  29. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal in that they have to do what we say because they live here.”

    Ken, I’m sure in 1776 Dan T. would have been telling us all how the King had Parliament had the complete right to tax us without consent, since we were born in the colonies.

  30. Yeah. The next thing you know you won’t be able to kill people or take their stuff either. Damn civilization!

    Dan, this is one of those comments that basically shows you’re nothing more than a troll despite what you claimed yesterday.

    If you can’t see the fundamental difference between what Ken listed and murder and theft, that you’re an idiot too.

    Yeah, you do have an open mind. The fact that you can’t seem to hold onto what anyone here tries to tell you shows that ideas float out of your head as easily as you claim they can enter.

  31. Yeah, and smoking marijuana in a coffee house in Maastricht is just like stealing and murder…

    …except that it’s nothing like stealing or murder.

    But remember, my message was in response to your post about how you didn’t think society had the right to tell you what to do. But yet you seem to think that society does have a right to tell people what to do in some cases. So where does that right come from?

  32. Dan, this is one of those comments that basically shows you’re nothing more than a troll despite what you claimed yesterday.

    If you can’t see the fundamental difference between what Ken listed and murder and theft, that you’re an idiot too.

    Yeah, you do have an open mind. The fact that you can’t seem to hold onto what anyone here tries to tell you shows that ideas float out of your head as easily as you claim they can enter.

    I’m just saying that civilization is based on the idea that we’re all better off when we collectively decide on rules for individual conduct. Obviously, there is a lot of room for deciding what those rules should be. But libertarians want to strip communities of the power to govern themselves – it appears that the American libertarian knows better than the leaders of a town in Holland as to how to govern that town.

  33. No, theft and murder directly and tangibly harm the victim. Me ripping a bong in a coffee shop and ODing on twinkies does not in any way affect your quality of life. It is as simple as that.

    One other thing, you seem to waste a ton of time here, commenting on every thread, where do you work? I need in on that gig. I get a half hour lunch to get my fix.

  34. Eric Dondero | June 6, 2007, 3:03pm | #
    I have a Dutch friend – Simone – who lives in The Hague. He tells me that all of this crackdown on marijuana in the Netherlands is a direct result of the rising tide of Islam throughout the country.

    Simone tells me that Muslims hate marijuana and are pushing local town councils to outlaw it, and also all prostitution. Worse, he relays that Muslims are now winning seats on local City Councils and pushing all sorts of restrictive legislation.

    How long will American libertarians continue to deny that Islam is fundamentally opposed to human liberty?

    We must fight back!!

    Well then by your logic, clearly it must have been our Muslim forefathers who banned prostitution and drugs here as well, no? Nixon was a Muslim. Had to have been for developing the CSA. I guess that Westboro baptist is also a Muslim organization, I bet they’d love to know that.

    Asshat.

  35. I have a Dutch friend – Simone – who lives in The Hague my head. He tells me that all of this crackdown on marijuana in the Netherlands is a direct result of the rising tide of Islam throughout the country.

    Simone tells me that Muslims hate marijuana and are pushing local town councils to outlaw it, and also all prostitution. Worse, he relays that Muslims are now winning seats on local City Councils and pushing all sorts of restrictive legislation.

    How long will American libertarians continue to deny that Islam is fundamentally opposed to human liberty?

    We must fight back!!

  36. How long do you think it will take for the DEA to find a way to force the coffeshops to provide this information on any customers that are from the United States? With proof that you bought some Dutch coffeshop gear it wouldn’t be hard to justify some extra processing by Customs upon your return or even charge you with a crime similar to the process used to prosecute child sex tourists.

  37. Dan T. is defending the correct position, if poorly. The issue is one of consent. If I am born into or move into a community that has a system of governance, and I am free to leave that community but choose not to, then I have tacitly given my consent to whatever constitution regulates the local government. If that constitution empowers the local government to disallow firearms, smoking, pot, or whatever, then that is perfectly moral, as no one lives in their community except of their own free will. By extension, this means that the federal government has no moral authority over anybody who cannot move out of the country as freely as they can move from city to city, or state to state.

    Except for people who vote federally. Voting is a tacit acceptance of constitutional governance.

  38. davek,

    Nnnnnot quite (though that is a fairly sensible and well-argued position), unless you’re prepared to do away with the concept of natural rights like freedom of speech, which is problematic regarding consent.

    I think the problems of limited information access and scarce economic resources dictate that scenarios can exist where one accepts the community but is horribly and immorally repressed anyway.

    For instance, many North Koreans honestly believe they live in the greatest country in the world with a high standard of living, and everywhere else there is terrible suffering and hardship. They are essentially tricked into not trying to leave.

    So I think there are some rights one cannot give up, even with consent.

  39. Hi TallDave,
    I can’t agree that natural rights cannot be given up without consent. People give up the right to free speech every time they enter a restaurant, or a cinema. This is a tacit contract, and variations on the theme play out constantly through all our daily lives. It could be said that you have a natural right to give up your natural rights.

    P.S. At 6′ 4″, could it be that “I” am the real TallDave? 😉

  40. Hehe, you got me beat, only 6’3″ here.

    Sure, I’m not arguing that you can’t contract those rights on a temporary basis. I’m just saying that there are situations where accepting the community’s impositions would be immoral even with apparaent implicit consent, in that some impositions such as restricting freedom of information flow interfere with the process of consent itself.

  41. Yeah, I don’t think Dan T. is trolling. I just think he’s wrong. There’s a coherent political theory of consent there, he’s just not articulating it very well. Ironically, with a bit of tweaking it becomes Nozick’s utopia from Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

    Dan T., I disagree with you for a couple reasons-although they get hard to articulate at times. I’d be more likely to agree with you, I think, if there were some sort of exit, if Galt’s Gulch really did exist. The fact that most of us here would like to live in a community with these laws, and can’t, indicates that the sort of exit you posit doesn’t really exist. But as for specifics:

    First, there are some rights that no political union should ever be able to repress: I don’t believe, for instance, in binding self-slavery, even if the slave agrees to it in the beginning. Communities that don’t allow free exit (without penalty: “you can leave, but we get all your property” doesn’t cut it), or free self-expression, or free association, just aren’t acceptable. Self-ownership falls into this category for me, I think; what I do with my own body in my own home simply cannot be anyone else’s business, unless I’ve specifically agreed to make it some specific other person’s business. And even then, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with an open-ended commitment there; so you could make my not using pot a condition of hiring me for the job, and fire me if I use, but you can’t make me sign a contract that says I will never again use pot-or rather, I can sign it but it shouldn’t be enforceable. I think. Or maybe steal a page from contract law: you can sue me for remedy, but you can only collect insofar as you can demonstrate harm. Since you can’t, the clause is effectively void.

    Second, a large part of my libertarianism comes from straight-up Miesian/Hayekian practical arguments. Getting the government in most affairs doesn’t wind up helping very much; I don’t want the government sticking its nose into any business unless a clear and compelling case can be made that the nose-entrance is important and will be effective. Whether these are implemented by a large political unit or a small, they’re still bad because they’re just dumb to begin with.

  42. “But yet you seem to think that society does have a right to tell people what to do in some cases. So where does that right come from?”

    To maintain this peace, we have created a race of giant, all-powerful robots. Gort is one of those robots.

  43. “Yeah, I don’t think Dan T. is trolling. I just think he’s wrong.”

    I think it happens sometimes that people wander in who genuinely hold certain views that just so happen to be troll favorites.

    …and God forbid we discourage genuine people from wandering in.

  44. Hey TallDave, I probably got you in weight, too, so if I want a name change, I’ll be FatDave… or UglyDave… or SelfHatingDave…

    I think I grok your argument about limited information. Is it your position that that is such a large concern that no regulation has any moral authority? How can people form communities of free associations if they can’t freely consent to restrictions on their natural rights?

  45. Ken: “I’m sorry, I can’t carry a gun to defend myself or smoke in a restaurant or watch what I want on television or hire the guy I want to mow my lawn or any one of a zillion other things…because you held an election? …Screw your election! Screw you!”

    Will you please quit being so namby-panby and tell us what you really think?

  46. I’m afraid this to me demonstrates what is wrong with the various “legalization-lite” regimes out there.

    Same thing in Canada. Once you’re north of Steeles Avenue in Ontario you are outside of the “pot use is OK” zone. Likewise for everywhere else.

    All it will take for the whole bud-friendly environment in BC to break down will be the appointment of a new Mountie commandant in the region who remembers all the lessons he learned about weed in Regina.

    While the Netherlands has shown progress the fact that they maintain a split level of “legalization” (“coffee shops” are licensed while “trafficking” is still illegal) means that there will continue to be problems.

  47. It’s still unclear to me why the libertarian response to this situation isn’t that if you don’t like the rules in Maastricht, then you’re free to leave or convince others to elect leaders that will change the laws.

    I’m not following you, Big Dan. Libertarians have rarely been comfortable with simple majority rule. It’s a bit of an overused cliche here on H&R, but I’m afraid that you’re arguing with the libertarian in your head.

    Libertarians are overwhelmingly against our current anti-drug policies, but yet we get the policies that the majority of people want. That doesn’t make us any happier about it.

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