Privacy Up in Smoke: "Coffeeshops" to Store Customer ID
Maastricht's cafés licensed to sell decriminalized marijuana are attempting to appease critics and avoid forced closure by collecting and retaining fingerprint and ID data from customers. Netherlands traditionally gets the hairy eyeball from neighboring nations due to its incongruent drug laws, which has led to airport security innovation and firmer border practices than other nations; I was always more closely checked when leaving the Netherlands than when entering, and we're not even talking about my long-hair days.
Coffee shops licensed to sell marijuana in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht will begin fingerprinting customers and scanning their IDs this summer to help prove they're following rules governing such sales.
In particular, the measures are expected to help stores show they are not selling to underage customers and that they haven't sold more than the maximum permitted to a customer on a given day.
"This is not something that we are doing willingly, but with pain in our hearts," Marc Josemans, chairman of the Union of Maastricht's Coffee Shops, said Wednesday. He said shops in Rotterdam and several Dutch border cities were considering following suit.
"We're very afraid we're going to lose customers over this, and to be honest we're even a little ashamed we're doing it, but the city of Maastricht has such harsh punishments that we don't feel we have any choice," Josemans told The Associated Press.
Marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, but cities may license shops to sell no more than 5 grams per customer per day. The shops may not sell to anyone under 18, nor permit drugs other than marijuana or hashish on the premises.