Facts vs. Foreign pressure: Can new Dutch government close coffeeshops?

At this moment, The Netherlands do not have an actual government, but the
parties involved in the future government, CDA and PvdA, are discussing
their coalition plans for weeks now.
One the informers of the new government is 'current' and future CDA Justice
Minister Donner, now involved in forming a new coalition with the PvdA, the
two parties have a small minority in the Dutch Tweede Kamer.
Minister Donner has big plans to rid Holland of Drugs and Crime, as they
have been announced over the past few months.
Donner wants to get the Dutch policy on Drugs and Penalties more in line
with the rest of Europe, Holland's Liberal Drug Policy seems to undermine
Justice and Law in Europe.

Minister Donner wants to go back to minimum penalties for drug possession,
like in other EU countries, under political pressure from France and Sweden,
meaning, 1 year maximum for possession of cannabis, and 3 years maximum for
the supplying of cannabis.
His future policy includes going after coffeeshops with a website, as he
considers that advertising, which is forbidden under the Dutch coffeeshop
Donner also wants to close a lot of coffeeshops, based on the coffeeshop
policy, out of a total of 806, and he wants to solve the problems in the
border area's with Germany and Belgium, where thousands of foreign visitors
flood the local coffeeshops to buy cannabis on a daily basis.
Donner stated the following, when he was asked if he was going to tackle the
Dutch Drug Policy, 'the cause of a lot of nuisance and crime', as
interviewers Jan Hoedeman and Frank Poorthuis put it:

"We have come so close together that we can not keep saying: The Netherlands
should just keep doing it its own way, because we cause our neighbours
trouble with our policy, and we deny them the possibility to do it their
way. The Tolerance Policy for coffeeshops is a part of the Drugproblem. I
can not make a separation in that. But, in order to see what I can do for
the Tolerance Policy, you have to wait until Prinsjesdag."
( Prinsjesdag is the day the Queen reads the Bill of the Dutch State, and
announces new Tax increases, o.a.)

This quote means that Minister Donner does not see any difference between
regulated coffeeshops and cannabis, and hard drugs and their suppliers.
His statements on Prinsjesdag included threat to close the coffeeshops, as
usual, and a crack down on drugs and crime, nothing surprising, he just
announced he wanted to ruin a system that gave the best results in the
Donner expects citizens to make an effort, by getting more involved in the
community as such, and more wisdom that would make ordinary people part of
projects to secure safety in our society, a task that we consider unpaid
police work in Holland.
He stated that the authorities would provide more police officers on the
streets and more prison cells. He considered to solve the current shortage
of cells by putting two inmates in one cell, and to re-instate the old
Veenhuizen prison.
The reality of that moment was that coke-smugglers, arriving at Amsterdam
Airport from the Antilles Island , with pellets of coke in their belly, were
released after 'delivering' their contents, there were no cells available to
lock them up. It only got out in the press when a person caught with several
kilo's of coke in a suitcase was released for the lack of cells, hundreds
with 'only' a few hundred grams of pellets had been released previously.
Estimates showed that 8000 convicted suspects could not or not fully be
locked up because of the increasing shortage of prison cells.
Even today, coke-smugglers with a 'content' or load of less than 1500 grams!
will not be locked up in the Netherlands, they are send back to their
country of origin, with a note from the Custom's and the Prosecutor, telling
them they will be locked up in case he/she comes back to Holland. Minister
Donner is responsible for this system.

On November 7, 2002, it became clear that the plans to build new prisons
were rejected, because of a lack of funds. Minister Donner organised a
priority debate about the growing lack of prison cells and the release of
the pellet-smugglers, stating all new prison projects were cancelled as a
result of financing.

He also stated he would act against coffeeshops advertising online, his
department found out that 103 coffeeshops have a website, some of them
violated the regulations, he would act against that in due time. He would
announce new suggestions to solve the cell shortage the same month, it never
happened, the government stepped down before he came up with it.

The results of a quick scan, executed by the National Police Corps (KLPD)
showed that 12% of the 805 coffeeshops, 103 outlets, had a website online,
none of them offered cannabis for sale, no dope was being transferred
through the discovered sites.
The KLPD also found 1500 sites about synthetic drugs online, 3% of them were
Donner, of course, was very worried about all this.

A publication from the Dutch Staats-courant from December 2, 2003, unveiled
that the EU ministers of Justice failed in finding agreement over harmonised
penalties for drugs trade. The Dutch softdrugs policy was heavily criticised
by France and Sweden. The criteria for coffeeshops in the border area's were
to be tightened, to diminish the frontier crossing effects of the Dutch
softdrugs policy.
Donner stated that the Dutch policy should not cause consequences for the
neighbouring countries a legitimate demand by the EU partner states. Besides
that there is research going to determine the health risks of softdrugs.
Minister Donner suggested that the results of this research might lead to a
stricter Dutch softdrugs policy.

All this shows Donner hangs his head to the wishes and pressure of two
European partners, and is willing to sacrifice the best executed Drug Policy
in the world to please foreign leaders and demands.

The latest announcement on the Dutch Drug Policy came on January 25, when
Donner announced he wants to close 400 coffeeshops, out of the remaining 806
still active.

Translation of Haarlems Dagblad, Feb. 26, 2003:

Donner wants hard line on softdrugs

'Neighbourhoods in hands weed gangs'

By: Ap van den Berg and Ferdi Schooten

The Hague/GPD- Justice Minister Donner (CDA) wants to tighten the tolerance
policy for softdrugs and bring it in line with European legislation. A
confidential report shows he wants 'a sharp decrease in the number of
coffeeshops'. Donner also wants to discourage druguse and homegrowing. It
has been confirmed by reliable sources around the minister.

If it was up to Donner, he will start a major offensive against illegal hemp
plantations. It happens more often that criminal gangs use houses and
basements in the poorer neighbourhoods, as it states in not yet published
research of criminologist Prof. Dr. Frank Bovenkerk. According to Bovenkerk,
the results from his report will be used 'to reconsider the softdrugs policy
The criminologist states there are 20 neighbourhoods, spread over the whole
off the Netherlands, controlled by weed gangsters.
Around 60 % of the crop is exported to foreign countries. The police usually
only manages to catch the growers, mainly mothers on benefits, junks and
people in great debts. The gangs, who supply for the necessary equipment,
the plants, the utilities and the clipping, always escape from prosecution.

The Minister will offer his suggestions to the Parliament on short notice.
Because Donner is also the informer for the new government's formation, his
prerogatives will come to order during the formation of the Cabinet.
The PvdA (The CDA's only coalition partner) does not feel anything for a
hard line on softdrugs. This party thinks the police can use its energy way
better for catching crooks.
The CDA, however, fears that smoking a joint will sooner lead to a transfer
to hard drugs.

The number of coffeeshops has already decreased noticeably over the last 5
years. At present, our country counts a little under 800 cannabis outlets
(806,nvs) for marihuana and weed?, compared to around 1500 in 1998. The main
loss of coffeeshops occurred in the big cities.
But, according to Donner, another 400 coffeeshops will have to be closed
within a year, minimum. In fact, Municipalities can decide over the
softdrugs policy independently.
By tightening the current policy, Donner wants to force municipalities in to

By bringing the Dutch softdrugs policy more in line with the stance of the
EU member states, Donner hopes to make good agreements about the smuggling
of humans, terrorism protection and asylum policy.
"Some countries, amongst whom France, do not keep themselves to these
agreements because of the Dutch softdrugs policy", said a spokesman.

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 13th of
the EU in cannabis consumption, with coffeeshops, according to a UN report!

I'll display the top 15, so I can at least include Holland in there.

Cannabis: Annual prevalence of abuse as percentage of the EU population aged
15 and above:

Ireland: 9.4%
UK: 9.4%
FRANCE: 7.4%
Switserland: 7.0%
Spain: 7.0%
Germany: 6%
Iceland: 6%
Italy: 6%
Belgium: 5.5%
Austria: 5%
Denmark: 4.4%
Greece: 4.4%
Netherlands: 4.1%
Luxembourg: 4%
San Marino: 4%

Some other interesting figures from around the world:

Papua New Guinea: 29.5%
South Africa: 18.4%
New Zealand: 18%
Australia: 17.9%
Canada: 8.9%
USA: 8.3% (Note: 2 times as much as in Holland! Prohibition or
Iran: 4.2%
Portugal: 3.7%

Holland would not make the top 50 in the world, according to this UN report,
the UN knows that Holland is only a minor cannabis consuming country. Why in
the world are they picking on Dutch coffeeshops so persistently?
I know why, Dutch coffeeshops have an address, unlike all other drugs
suppliers in the world!

Source: United Nations: Office on Drugs and crimes.

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 bongs and 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.

Portugal has decriminalised the use and possession of ALL drugs years ago.

Switserland is going to allow 'pot-shops', after Dutch model, that country
already allows the cultivation of cannabis.

The UK is going to declassify cannabis on July 3, using cannabis will become
more or less accepted, mainly to prevent the UK Justice system from clogging
up more than it already is.

Sweden had another argument to get the Dutch coffeeshops closed:
The use of cannabis was supposed to lead to an explosion of Schizophrenia,
as Sweden stated, so the source of that evil, the Dutch coffeeshops, had to
be closed to prevent that.
I found some interesting figures about schizophrenia online, making the
Swedes look like a bunch of schizophrenic liars!
Section two: The sufferers (people with a severe mental illness)
The average age of people being cared for in the European surveys appears to
be around the mid-thirties to very early forties. The majority are male
(ranging from 56% to 80%) and have a diagnosis of schizophrenia (ranging
from 29% to 92%).
The table below contains a great deal of information, some of which is in
different forms. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is very high amongst the
sufferers in England and Ireland (as the word "Schizophrenia" remains in the
title of both organisations, this is to be expected). In Holland
particularly, but also Belgium and France, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is
significantly lower. This will have an effect on the value of comparing some
of the other results from the survey and is important to bear in mind.
Sufferer's Age, Gender and Diagnosis

(a) = average (mean)
Source: http://www.eufami.org/barcelona/lect_1_1.html

After 30 years of cannabis and coffeeshops, most of the Dutch population
should be suffering from schizophrenia, but Sweden, Spain, England and
Ireland have more sufferers, way more!

Donner's motivation as he states it in the Dutch press is the pits, however,
he and the CDA still think that the use of cannabis will lead to the use of
hard drugs, advocating the so-called gateway theory. He feels closing the
coffeeshops will protect the youth. Youth under 18 is not allowed into
coffeeshops, so they have nothing to do with that!
This argument is so sad, I fear for Holland's future if Donner stays in
charge of the Justice Department, he should know that this anti-legalisation
propaganda was crushed years ago:

There are loads of articles online indicating that cannabis available on
schools already, after the age for admittance to cannabis coffeeshops was
increased from 16 to 18 in 1997, in Dutch, but I will paste a few here

Dutch figures show that less than 50% of the cannabis consumers buys their
cannabis in coffeeshops, they are not allowed in every town or municipality,
cannabis is available everywhere, through house dealers and home growers
Source: http://www.cedro-uva.org/

Donner will use a report by criminologist Prof. Dr. Bovenkerk to go after
the homegrowers of cannabis, to prevent the supply to coffeeshop and to
fight organised crime. Bovenkerk's reported indicates that 60% of the
cannabis produced in the Netherlands is destined for foreign countries.
These figures, which might be close to the truth, should not be used against
Holland and it's growers, who only live up to their natural instincts, and
supply a huge demand in Europe. Donner should address our neighbouring
countries, to advise them to allow the cultivation and sales of cannabis in
their respective countries, holding up the results of Holland's successful
30-year experiment! That would stop the flood of foreigners coming to
Holland for cannabis, nothing else.
Donner nor Bovenkerk seem to realise that homegrown cannabis is now 75% of
the turnover in coffeeshops, before Nederweed came on the market, around
1990, it was 100% hash and marihuana from foreign countries, the merchandise
was brought in by big, criminal organisations, which caused the Dutch
Justice a lot of problems. Homegrowers took care of that problem, Holland no
longer needs big piles of hash, so organised crime turned away from it. Hash
is still available in Dutch coffeeshops, mainly from Morocco, but the
transports coming in do not exceed the size of a car trunk, and is of good
I can only draw this conclusion: Minister Donner does not know what he is
about to do!

This is the doom scenario in case Minister Donner succeeds in his

Eliminating homegrowers would not stop the Dutch cannabis consumer from
smoking cannabis, they would just go back to smoking hash again. It will not
take long before big criminal organisations will pick up on that, they will
start importing truck-, train, and boat loads of hash into the Netherlands
again, across Europe's unguarded borders.

Closing coffeeshops, no matter how many, will not lead to less cannabis use
under youth, as they do not buy cannabis there, they rely on the sources
that might get them in touch with hard drugs already. The coffeeshop policy
was initiated to keep the youth away from hard drugs users and dealers, but
that did not work anymore, after the increase of age, in 1997.

Closing coffeeshops will lead to more illegal sales, integrated in the sales
of XTC, speed, cocaine and heroin, undoing the separation of the two
markets, softdrugs and hard drugs, the reason to have a Tolerance policy and

Minister Donner should realise he can proudly stand up for the Dutch Drug
Policy, instead of bowing his head to unfounded criticism from France,
Sweden and the UN, the USA should not have any say in our policy at all,
they have the worse, self inflicted drug problem in the world.
It is also na´ve to think that France and Sweden will be satisfied with 400
coffeeshops closed, they want them all closed, no less. By stating he can
probably close 400 coffeeshops, Donner admits he can not close the other
400, that is the positive side.

My businesses are safe, the regulations, as Donner now wants to strictly
apply in the Netherlands, are based on the Haarlem experiment and model, we
moved away from schools in that process.
Other coffeeshops in Holland should have that chance too, Donner will not be
able to deny them that, if that was allowed in Haarlem, it should be allowed
in the whole country, there is clear system for that, it is called

I did my home work, I doubt if Minister Donner did his.

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