Anyone who knows Amsterdam a little bit must have noticed a cold and conservative wind of change blowing through the city lately. Especially our famed coffeeshop culture is heavily under siege from forces in parliament that have obviously gone over to the dark side. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since our fair country is now governed by a raggedy coalition of Christian fundamentalists and rambling socialists.

But given the fact that America is spending billions of dollars in a war on drugs that is currently being won by the other side, a bunch of lazy ass pot smokers and what not, one could carefully draw the conclusion that A: people want drugs really badly. B: they’ll get it anyhow. C: repression is too expensive and to top it of, D: it doesn’t work.

However, our government felt the urge to give the Grand Illusion of a drug-free Holland another go. For now its focus is on closing 43 coffeeshops situated within 250 meters from a secondary school. No one involved believes this is going to have any affect whatsoever, because a vigorously implemented law already makes it virtually impossible to sell soft drugs to minors. Furthermore, some school teachers foresee ‘delivery boys on mopeds’ who might have stronger stuff for sale as well. And let’s face it, no school kid was going to buy a bag of weed in plain sight of his own principals anyway.

Within the city counsel there’s still a lot of discussion on this topic and only the Christian-Democrats believe in their own radical plan to close all coffeeshops by 2011. Mayors all over the country have expressed their concern about this absurd target, and seem willing to revolt. It ain’t over yet.

2009 will be an important year for the future of Dutch drug policy. It seems that we have no choice but to make one, the old rabbit-out-of-a-head gedoogbeleid is no longer an option. We either legalize or ban soft drugs all together. Needless to say that, should we have the guts and clairvoyance to finally make the step to legalisation, God, the pope and all his merry men will be very sorry they ever brought it up.

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