Mayors are arguing for a hash and weed pick-up counter in coffeeshops, now that drug dealers are taking over trade.
Online drug dealers have begun to take over the hashish and weed business now that coffee shops have been closed immediately due to new cabinet measures against the covid-19 corona virus.. Prices are considerably higher. "Also give coffee shops the function of a take-away shop."
Drug dealers report online that they do sell hash and weed. This is done via Whatsapp and SMS. For example, a drug dealer writes: "Coffee shops are closing. Be quick, before it's gone. "
The prices of the hash and weed at a street dealer are considerably higher than in coffee shops. In a coffee shop, one gram of weed or hash costs on average ten euros, on the illegal market about twenty euros. In addition, the dealers encourage to buy large quantities. For example, under the guise of "bulk advantage" they offer 100 grams of hash or weed for 320 euros or even 1000 grams for 3200 euros. In a legal coffee shop, a customer is not allowed to buy more than 5 grams at a time.
"This is what the cannabis industry has been warning about for years," said a spokesperson for Platform Cannabis Netherlands (PCN). "When weed and hashish become illegal, you get such practices."
Coffee shops are seen as catering companies, which means that they also have to close according to the measures of the cabinet. PCN understands this, because the coronavirus is now important to fight. Yet they do not agree that they are seen as catering. "Coffee shops are actually part of the retail trade, but with a catering tint."
"Take away store"
According to the spokesperson for PCN, it would therefore be good if coffee shops are seen as take-away stores. That way, customers can continue to buy their hashish and weed for the next three weeks. The spokesperson also says that coffee shops are aware that they can help fight the virus, and that they have already taken serious measures such as wearing gloves. Whether this also happens at dealers cannot be checked.
Mayors also report today that they want temporary take-away points for legal soft drugs such as hash and weed. Mayor Ahmed Marcouch van Arnhem already received signals from the city on Sunday evening that street traders were active. He wants to deal with that as a matter of priority. Today, Mayor Paul Depla of Breda argues in the Security Council of all 25 security regions for a take away function for coffee shops, writes magazine Binnenlands Bestuur. According to him, the Dutch tolerance policy has in fact suddenly been abolished.
Depla and Marcouch fear that after the end of the corona measures, customers will not return to the regulated coffee shops. "While street trading is very undesirable." Depla therefore believes that a take away counter with limited opening hours is a good solution. The mayors are not allowed to make that decision themselves. That is up to Minister Ferd Grapperhaus of Justice and Security, who will participate in the Security Council on Monday.
Long waiting lines for coffee shops already started yesterday after the cabinet announced that they should also close. The coffee shops will be closed at least until April 6.
Source: Dutch newspaper AD.NL
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