, THE HAGUE, Mar 25 – A Dutch court fined the owner of the Netherlands\’ biggest cannabis-vending coffee shop 10 million euros on Thursday after police seized more than 200 kilogrammes of the drug on its premises.
In the statement which announced the fine, the court said that the owner of Checkpoint, in the southwestern Middelburg area, would have had to pay a larger penalty had it not been for the role of the municipal authorities.
"Checkpoint could not have expanded as much as it did without collaboration from the municipality of Middelburg," it said.
"Also, the police never warned that the coffee shop had to scale down."
Coffee shop owner Meddy Willemsen was tried in the Middelburg district court with 15 others, including former employees of his coffee shop in Terneuzen, near the Belgian border and local suppliers, for drug trafficking and involvement in a criminal organisation.
Police seized over 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) of cannabis on Checkpoint\’s premises in 2007 and 2008.
Coffee shops in the Netherlands are permitted to stock no more than 500 grammes of the soft drug at any given time.