Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Global War On Drugs Fail In Microcosm

Only a blinkered state agency couldn't have seen this coming.
By driving the soft drugs trade underground, the Dutch town of Maastricht has triggered a crime wave. PublicServiceEurope.com analyses the effects of the controversial 'weed pass' law

Maastricht - formerly a mecca for drug tourists from across western Europe - has called for police reinforcements to handle "aggressive" street pushers, who have taken over almost all trade in marijuana and cannabis since authorities introduced tighter controls on legal outlets. The Dutch town's Mayor Onno Hoes wants to double the number of dedicated police officers in order to control the black market, which has benefited from the region's draconian "weed pass" law. 
The weed pass came into effect in Maastricht, a border town close to both Belgium and Germany, on May 1. It killed off an international trade that had thrived for decades. 
Forget the usual computer-generated - and universally publication-biased - modelling, this is real life experience, the very best evidence there is.
According to a series of articles in Limburger, a local newspaper, the illegal street trade has boomed since May 1. Drug dealers, some of them children and many of them from Eastern Europe and North Africa, now fight for control of the 120,000-population city. Eight of 17 local authorities that took part in a survey said they had witnessed an increase in drug-related problems since the weed pass came into force, the Limburger reported.
Oh dear. And this merely through requiring residents to register as members of coffee shops to deter outsiders. Imagine the carnage had they plumped for full prohibition.
"Everything we predicted has come true," says Marc Josemans, head of the association of Maastricht coffee shop owners. "Some of the dealers on the street now are as young as 14, some are as old as 65," he tells this website. "They are making good profits". Maastricht has become a "ghost town" since May, says Josemans. "I will admit there are a lot more parking spaces available, but there have been a lot of negative side effects. There is no tourism anymore. We have committed economic suicide."
Do you reckon states worldwide will gather together and hold huge conferences to discuss this devastating proof that their policies are incompetent and damaging to the public? You know, like they do when they are plotting to take our freedoms away?

Yeah, I know. Silly question.

Especially since the almost religious crusade against certain substances seems to turn state employees' brains to mush.
[Gertjan Bos, Hoes' spokesman said] "The weed pass has been a success as 1.5 million people who used to come from abroad are not coming anymore".
This is 'success'? I thought it was those high on weed who were meant to be losing their minds.


Rob said...

But aren't they now in the position every town in the UK is in (and presumably France, Germany, etc), so why don't we/they have the same issue?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Perhaps we do. The difference being that we may have become accustomed to it, whereby they previously had an arrangement which saw them enjoy reduced levels of problems. The only problem they seem to be trying to solve here is outsiders coming to the city to smoke cannabis, which is not a problem if they are behaving themselves. By doing so, they seem to have stirred up trouble for their own citizens.

We don't know the figures from Maastricht, nor how they compare with British, French or German cities of the same size so cannot judge between them. In our cities, we'd only report something unusual happening if the levels of crime etc increased or decreased by a significant margin.

Pat Nurse said...

I mentioned this in my post here after a baccy trip last week. One coffee shop owner says he will be forced underground and the local "mafia" will take over. Well done puritan prohibitionists who are obviously smoking too much of something - righteousness perhaps. http://patnurseblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/behold-it-can-be-done.html

Bucko TheMoose said...

ASH would say it's a resounding success and any problems can be resolved by adequate policing.
Problems created by too much control can be solved be even more control in the minds of these people.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Again, a perfect description of the war on drugs since 1971.

Jobs are created for prohibitionists but - all things considered - everyone loses out as a result.

SPL said...

It depends on what you mean by 'position'. The quality of the weed in Maastricht verses UK, or do you mean the dealing of it is now illegal, falling in line (with UK, France, Germany) in prosecuting a perfectly innocent plant?

My town has not been a 'heads' Mecca for decades like Maastricht, (in fact its not really a Mecca for anything), but one can walk out of my front door now (UK), and probably locate a 'yoof'--who'll sell some real low quality smoke for a Queens £10 on the gram--within the hour. Its big business for the wrong people. The weed in Maastricht would be of much higher quality, and of comparable price.

So despite it being 'illegal', one can still get it--without licenses or registration. Perhaps its just a way of getting smokers on to a register?

The only things suffering are:
A) The UK, France & German economies, as there really is a BOOMING black market in the stuff. No, seriously, there really, really is.
B) Victims of that Black Market, these are too wide and numerous too list.
C) The plants themselves (i.e. the quality goes down as the plants are grown in a hurry and suffer as a result of over fertilization). I know what you are thinking, but if it was an orchid it would be protected. Cannabis (and tobacco) is a plant to stamp on, and wipe from the face of the earth. Is that the thinking of a rational man?
D) End Users, as they are buying something that has no fixed quality standard / weight / price / age restriction / outlets / &c. / &c.

So, to finish, in answer to your question, Yes, they are in the same position as UK, France & Germany. Except the weed is much, much better, and it'll be little Johnny (your neighbors kid) who'll be selling you the weed here in the UK (I think my town is too small for the Triads).

Carl Phillips said...

Great analysis. I especially love how (apart from all the other madness) for any other good, the loss of -- oh, let's estimate about a quarter of a billion Euros a year -- in lost commerce would be seen as a bad thing, but for this it is a sign of success.