Dutch cannabis buyers face biometric testing

  1. By Sabine Fiedler Reuters - Thursday, June 21 02:14 pm
    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Buying cannabis in the Dutch city of Maastricht will soon mean having your fingerprints taken, your face scanned and your biometric data recorded.

    All 15 coffee shops in the southern city are spending about 100,000 euros ($134,000) installing a security system that makes it harder for an under-age cannabis smoker to enter than a terrorist to set foot in Europe, according to Marc Josemans, head of the local coffee shop union.
    "We are ashamed for this attack on your privacy", reads an explanatory leaflet about the system starting in September.
    The coffee shops face a continual struggle to prove they are not selling to people under the age of 18 or more than 5 grams of cannabis a day to any one individual.
    If they can't, they risk being shut down.
    "If a 17-year-old comes here, shows the ID of his very similar-looking older brother and then gets caught by the police with cannabis bought in our shop, we have to prove that he broke the rules, not us," said Josemans.
    Cannabis is theoretically illegal in the Netherlands but has been tolerated in small amounts since the 1970s.
    Customers in Maastricht will have their fingers and face scanned. The scans will be compared with stored data and, if everything matches, they will be able to enter the coffee shop.
    No names and addresses are stored and details on the amount of cannabis bought every day will be saved only until midnight.
    The information is completely secure, coffee shop owners say. But Josemans concedes 90 percent of his clients don't like the system and he expects the new measures to hurt sales initially.
    "I don't like them registering what you buy, it's too much Big Brother", says Barry, 34. "But a fingerprint is okay."

    (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20070621/tpl-uk-dutch-coffeeshops-de29600.html)

    I'm not sure I like the fingerprinting, but I don't see anything wrong with them taking down people's information.

    CVS cards me when I would buy an 18 count box of Mucinex. They would take down my driver's license information if I got the 36 count.

    (Drugstores have to card people buying anything over a certain amount of cold medicine that contain Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used to make crystal meth.)


    It's a pain in the butt to go through EVERY time I would buy it, but I understand their wanting to prevent the abuse of the medication. It's probably either that or make Mucinex perscription only. And that would be an even BIGGER pain in the butt.

    (Also, Mucinex does wonders for my sinus infection. I bought a 36 count box when I was home . . . . to keep in my medicine cabinet just in case because it's not sold in Toronto.)
     
  2. I understand the carding for certain (or all) drugstore aisle drugs, because teenage use of non-prescription drugs to get high is still maintaining its popularity, unfortunately.

    But the cannabis thing...just needs to be illegal, not just "tolerated." In my eyes, carding for being 18 doesn't make it any better. Like being over 18 makes the decision any more intelligent. IMO, that decision is unintelligent whether you are 16, 18, 40, or 80 years of age. If they're going to use illegal drugs, and the city apparently tolerates it, then they people should have to deal with being monitored by "big brother" though I'm sure there are a world of arguments about certain personal rights that could be thrown at me, but yeah, heard 'em all, been through modern ethical arguments classes, and I still don't agree with any of the opposite ones for this. Completely against all substance abuse, no matter how supposedly insignificant.