Maastricht Suffers Consequences of New Cannabis LawMay 17, 2013
Street violence in Maastricht has been rising since new anti-cannabis laws went into effect last year.
And the mayor of Maastricht vowed yesterday to fight back.
Maastricht, located in the very south of Holland, has banned tourists from its cannabis coffeeshops.
One of the main reasons Maastricht leaders cited for welcoming the new laws was to reduce street disturbance, coming mainly from bordering German and Belgian tourists.
However it appears that the opposite effect is taking place.
Aggression from drugs dealers on the streets has reached "unacceptable levels", according to Maastricht mayor Onno Hoes.
Many cannabis sales are now taking place on the streets instead of in the coffeeshops in Maastricht.
The new national law, which took effect across the entire Netherlands January 1, 2013, was met by much opposition across the country.
So much so, that the law was ammended to allow local municipalities to determine for themselves who may enter a coffeeshop in their town and buy drugs.
The new law was intended to keep tourists out of Holland's famous cannabis coffeeshops. By converting all the nation's coffeeshops from public establishments into private clubs, tourists could be kept out. Only registered members could enter a coffeeshop, and only residents of Holland could become members. An ID would be issued to every member.
However many locals weren't too keen on the idea of registering themselves as cannabis users in a government database.
The mayor of Amsterdam came out strongly against the new law, and said from the beginning that nothing will change in terms of who can enter a coffeeshop in his town.
And true to his word, to this day anyone over 18 years old can enter a coffeeshop in Amsterdam and buy up to 5 grams of weed or hash like always, regardless of where they reside.
Sales in coffeeshops of small amounts of cannabis were decriminalized and became "tolerated" in The Netherlands in the 1970's. Magic mushrooms were made illegal in 2008 after many years of legal sales (but they've been replaced now by "magic truffles"). Hard drugs on the other hand are strictly illegal in The Netherlands.