The cafes have become tourist magnets in Amsterdam, but Mr. Rutte’s government clamped down on them because they are blamed for crime, traffic and parking problems in towns and cities close to the Dutch borders with Germany and Belgium.
In those places, authorities say that many of the clients are foreign drug runners who drive in from neighboring countries to stock up on marijuana.
The VVD’s election manifesto underscores the party’s support for the weed pass, and other right-leaning parties who back the crackdown on cannabis.
Marc Josemans, who runs a coffee shop in the southern city of Maastricht and long has fought against the weed pass, said he is attempting to push smokers to the voting booths to support parties that reject the pass.
It can be tough work, he said in a telephone interview.
“We are trying to make clear to cannabis consumers all over Holland … that this year is your last chance to save your cannabis policy and your coffee shop,” Mr. Josemans said. “And therefore it’s about time you get out of your lazy chairs on Sept. 12 and vote for a cannabis-friendly party.”
Mr. Josemans said the introduction of the pass system in May has driven dealing onto the streets, with “weed taxis” now delivering door to door, with far less control by the authorities than in coffee shops.
“It is extremely doubtful if the coffee shop (can) survive” if the policy continues, he said.
Much of smokers’ anger is directed at the policy of having to supply personal details to get a weed pass.
“I don’t want to apply for a pass because then everybody could see your personal information,” Mr. Croonenberg said. “You don’t have to do it in a bar to get alcohol, so why in a coffee shop?”