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Drive-Ups To Feature Weed

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. By Daniel Rubin, Inquirer Staff Writer
    Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

    Each day thousands of giggling Germans flood the streets of this beleaguered border town - a place where soft drugs are legal, the locals are fed up, and authorities have a solution that's thoroughly, pragmatically Dutch: Drive-through marijuana stores.
    The idea is to make it easy for Teutonic drug tourists to turn around and go home after making quick buys at two drugs-to-go shops that authorities want to place near the border.

    Venlo residents call the solution McDope.

    But the German drug tourists are only half the problem in Venlo. Hundreds of "runners" - street reps for more than 60 illegal drug houses - have taken over the corners and sidewalks along the Maas River, hawking their wares to passersby, even if the passersby happen to be 70-year-old women bicycling to the library.

    "It's not comfortable anymore - young people keep offering you drugs," said one such resident, a grandmother named Helene - no last name, please - who was pedaling through the riverside strip on a recent Saturday in search of a new detective novel. "It's getting worse and worse and worse. This is a gone place."

    The city of 35,000 in Holland's Limburg region is a half-hour drive for 15 million Germans packed into the German industrial belt across the border. After World War II, Germans started flocking to Venlo on weekends to shop for household staples, which were much cheaper in Holland. The Germans called it Butterfahrt - butter trip.

    Now their children come for Purple Haze and Wonderboy.

    "Hashish? Hashish?" There's nothing hushed about the invitations hurled at those who walk down the strand of tattoo parlors, sex shops and smoky cafes along the Maas River. A blonde pulls her Maserati with German plates onto the sidewalk, and a crowd mobs her window.

    The runners are Turks and Moroccans who live in Venlo, said Hans van Berkum, leader of the ruling Christian Democrat party in the city council. He said immigrants from those countries control the business, which officials estimate is as much as $40 million a year.

    Possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana is legal in the Netherlands. Authorities in Venlo have licensed five establishments, known as coffeehouses, to sell small amounts of marijuana.

    German authorities were not immediately wowed by the idea of McDope. They had been unaware of the magnitude of the problem in Venlo, said Hans-Josef Kampe, a legislator and drug counselor across the border in the German town of Viersen. "At first, the Venlo mayor told us, 'It's only because of you that we have this problem.' I said, 'Wait a moment. You offered something. You created this supply. That gave rise to demand from our side.' "

    The Germans thought only a few hundred of their young people bought marijuana in Venlo, Kampe said. "When we found out it's actually 2,000 to 4,000 people a day, we said, 'We won't leave you alone with this.' "

    That explains why German police officers will soon be walking a beat in the Dutch town. "It will surely be a deterrent to see your own police officers watching you even when you are across the border," Kampe said.

    While the German officers will "provide information about what's legal and what's not," they say they have bigger aims than harassing those who buy at the border.

    "We are not going to point binoculars at those who go through the drive-throughs and stop their cars once they are on our side," he said. "We are not interested in users carrying 2 grams. The cars we are trying to stop pick up their supplies in totally different places. Large quantities of hard drugs is what we are hoping to find."

    Venlo, in the southeast, is paying for the more tolerant attitudes of the larger cities in the western Netherlands, where only the North Sea - not a more uptight country - is the nearest neighbor, said van Berkum.

    "In general, Holland is a more permissive society - towards soft drugs, toward euthanasia, toward prostitution," he said. "At the borders, we suffer more. The people are very much more annoyed than in Amsterdam. The effect on a small city is much greater than in a bigger place."

    The drive-throughs, which are months away from opening, are part of an effort called Hector, after the defender of the ancient city of Troy.

    The city will take applications from potential proprietors, and those who operate the five licensed coffeehouses know the money will be tempting. But at least one of them says he is not interested.

    Hesdy "Easy Man" Blank, 47, a Surinam native who has run the Rasta Fari House since 1983, can't see how anything that fast and impersonal could be good.

    "This isn't the idea of the Dutch coffee shops," said Blank, sipping hot tea in his low-key establishment, as reggae-man Gregory Isaacs played on the stereo. "You sit down, relax. Listen to music."

    Regular customers at his shop know to order tea, coffee or a soft drink before they buy marijuana. Those who don't want to socialize and share a little of themselves, he said, are shown the door.

    "Maybe I would open one [at the border], but I want to do more," Blank said. "We could give them a place under the trees in the summer. So let me make an Internet cafe, and people, if they have a problem with smoke, they can meet with drug counselors. We're not going to just throw stuff into cars. You're looking for problems."

    Note: A Dutch town near Germany struggles to bring drug traffic under some control.

    Venlo, Netherlands

    Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)
    Author: Daniel Rubin, Inquirer Staff Writer
    Published: February 24, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
    Contact: Inquirer.Letters@phillynews.com
    Website: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/
     
  2. thanks for posting that superjoint that was pretty interesting especially since i used to live in germany myself i wasn't really close to the netherlands i lived in bruchkobel, germany which is near hanau and about an hour aweay from frankfurt but like i said thanks for posting that it was really interesting
     
  3. So let me make an Internet cafe ! ! !



    So let me make an ..............

    Internet cafe.................=............grasscity.com ?


    Sounds to me like the Germans are ripe for some coffeeshops of their own :)
     

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