In Maastricht, "Weed Pass" Law Creates Challenges

Half of the city's "coffee shops" have closed down and an estimated 400 people have been put out of work since a law restricting marijuana purchases to Dutch citizens took effect.

What's the Latest Development?

In the seven months since the Netherlands' city-specific "weed pass" law -- restricting marijuana purchases to Dutch citizens with appropriate identification -- took effect, the city of Maastricht has seen a precipitous decline in the number of foreign tourists looking to get high. Consequently, about half of the city's "coffee shops" -- where the drug is normally purchased -- have closed, and the remaining are struggling to stay afloat. In addition, almost 400 people have lost their jobs as a result of the law, and there's been an increase in illegal drug traffic and drug-related crime. 

What's the Big Idea?

The law was was originally scheduled to apply nationwide this month, but successful counter-lobbying got it amended to allow cities to decide how to apply it. Not surprisingly, Amsterdam ditched it entirely, and coffee shops there are still open for business. Meanwhile, Gertjan Bos, spokesman for Maastricht mayor Onno Hoes, says that the law is a good thing for his city, which is near the country's Belgian and German borders. "Here you had people coming in just to visit four or five coffee shops and buy up the maximum amount of weed. They were noisy, unruly, a nuisance."

Photo Credit:

Read it at GlobalPost

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less