Drug policy in the Netherlands designed to require criminal activity. Although the sale of soft drugs in ‘coffee shops’ is allowed, every activity necessary to run a coffee shop is prohibited ánd prosecuted. Production of cannabis is illegal. Large-scale dealing is illegal, and possession of more that 500 grams of cannabis is illegal which is an insanely small stock for a successful coffee shop. In practice this means coffee shops are required to buy from criminals, have to constantly stock their supplies throughout the day so the never have more that 500 grams and must have illegal storage locations. Still, some coffee shops manage to run a relatively clean business.
The Grass Company is a chain coffee shop with establishments in Den Bosch en Tilburg. They provide a welcome atmosphere, excellent mocktails, decent food and they sell cannabis. They maintain a good relationship with the city and police, and were honest about the location of their storage locations. As in, they literally shared the location with the city and police. It’s the kind of business you want in your town, they have a professional attitude, look like a hip bar. Anyway, a couple of years ago the cops raided their storage location, which by definition (and as police were told by Grass Company themselves) stored more than 500 gram, and then arrested the staff. Absolutely disgusting. Grass Company closed for a while out of protest, but then opened again. I figured they’d worked something out.
I cycle past their Den Bosch location every day, and a couple of days ago I noticed they’d closed and had some legal warning on the window. Weird. I work in Tilburg so I stopped by that location the same evening.
“What on earth happened here?”
“Yeah, we have nothing in stock, sorry. The police raided us so now we have nothing.”
“You’re joking. They raided you guys?”
“Yup. Took everything. They couldn’t find anything wrong so we’re still open.”
“I can’t believe they would raid your company..”
“Third time in three years.”
Want to know the charges?
Selling of cannabis. I’m not even kidding here, Money laundering. Corruption. Oh and they had more than 500 grams in one of their location. Grass Company is being punished for the consequences of politicians’ stupid laws that force them to work with criminals. The glaring resemblance between the war on sex and the war on drugs is often noticed, and we see it here again. “You can sell sex but you can’t buy sex or advertise for sex or work at any location or anywhere a child might ever be or ever was but you can sell sex sure!”, “You can sell cannabis but you can’t produce it or store it or buy it from producers or give money to producers or get your cannabis anywhere ever but you can have a coffee shop sure!”.
So, if you were wondering, this is how you drive legitimate businesses into the ground and help organised crime flourish. Yay!