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High Court in The Hague rules prosecution of coffeeshops inadmissible

On the afternoon of Wednesday July 2nd, 2014, it was announced that Spong Lawyers had achieved an important victory in the high court of The Hague, in a process regarding the supplies of several coffeeshops. These shops were represented by lawyers Gerard Spong, Sidney Smeets and Tim Vis. This victory declares the prosecution of three coffeeshops by the Public Prosecution Service as being inadmissible by The Hague court, due to the supply system being via the so-called ‘back door’. The court has ruled that there is no interest in criminal prosecution, and furthermore denied the Prosecution their right to prosecute.

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The common court in The Hague had previously ruled that the coffeeshops were guilty, but declined to punish them. This is known as a legal pardon, and was done to denounce the hypocrisy of the tolerance policy. Under this policy, Dutch coffeeshops are permitted to sell cannabis, but not to purchase it using the ‘back door’.

It is detailed in the tolerance policy that coffeeshops may not have more than 500 grams of cannabis in stock at any time. This stock limit is established in what is known as AHOJG-criteria. However, the policy says nothing about the maximum number of clients, which obviously influences the refills of cannabis which are needed and tolerated. The coffeeshops have always adhered to these rules. The toleration of the back door is also evident from the facts that the coffeeshops have always paid tax, and the municipality has always had insight into, and approved, their administration.

By Martijn
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