The tax authorities must be used to deal with the criminal profits of Amsterdam drug dealers that roam the city streets. That is what the CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) wants in Amsterdam and in the Dutch congress. But is it a feasible plan?
Some 1600 street dealers walk around the streets of Amsterdam, according to new figures from the police. These Amsterdam drug dealers cause a lot of inconvenience. If they are caught, they usually get a fine and an area ban, but that doesn’t scare them off. “The punishments are too low”, says party leader Diederik Boomsma of CDA Amsterdam. “Dealers see the fine as a business risk, they laugh at that fine, so we have to think of something else.”
Boomsma, together with Lower House member Pieter Omtzigt, therefore want to make use of the tax authorities. This is already happening with illegal hemp growers in the Netherlands. Boomsma doesn’t know whether it is an effective measure.
A lot of street dealers sell fake drugs. Don’t buy from street dealers!
Dutch Lawyer Peter Plasman, who regularly represents drug dealers, calls the CDA plan ‘ridiculous’ and ‘wrong’. He finds the use of the tax authorities in this case ‘an excellent definition of the abuse of powers’. In addition, Plasman doesn’t think that a levy from the taxing authorities will be a deterrent for Amsterdam drug dealers. And, unlike with hemp growers, it is difficult to prove how much a street dealer has earned. “Street dealers are often just runners who give their money directly to the people responsible for the trade. The only way to prove how much such a person earns is to follow him intensively, then you have just one person, which isn’t a realistic option.”
This might look like cocaine but it’s actually baking flour.
Despite all the criticism, Boomsma wants to have a good look at his plan. He wants to recapture the inner city of Amsterdam for civilization. That is why he also wants to tackle the buyers and users of drugs. “We have to get rid of the image of Amsterdam as a city where you go to do things that aren’t allowed in your home country. It isn’t a solution but that shouldn’t discourage us.”
The CDA was formed in 1980 from a merger between three separate Christian political parties. The CDA is conservative and has been a ruling party in most Dutch cabinets since its founding. They currently hold 12,4% of the seats in congress and 16% of the senate. They are the second largest political party for all Dutch municipalities. CDA Amsterdam has just 1 seat out of a total of 45. According to the party leadership, the CDA is in the middle of the political spectrum. Since October 26, 2017, the CDA is again a governing party and is part of the Rutte III cabinet. More information about the CDA can be found here.
This article is a translation of a piece that was originally posted here.