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Blokhuis comes with a draft amendment proposal for the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act

28 March 2019

State Secretary Paul Blokhuis wants to make it impossible for minors to purchase alcohol via internet shops and home delivery services. Therefore he drawn up a bill to amend the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act with stricter rules for "distance selling". An official draft of the bill has been made available for consultation today.

Blokhuis wants to make online shops and beer couriers legally responsible for compliance with the age limit. They must ensure that the supply goes well. The seller and the delivery service must therefore make agreements on this, says Blokhuis. "They must arrange that jointly."

In addition, when ordering, the seller must check whether the buyer is 18 years old. A so-called age verification system must be used for this, for which the seller is responsible. Ordering alcoholic beverages by telephone is no longer permitted in the future, as age verification is not possible via telephone.

The enforcement of the new rules for “distance selling” will be the responsibility of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). They may use test purchasers during their enforcement actions. Adult inspectors may also present themselves online as minors.

Other proposals in the draft bill:
1. Price promotions by off-premise sellers with more than 25% discount are no longer permitted (will also be enforced by the NVWA);
2. Criminalization of adults who pass on alcohol to minors in public (onward supplying);
3. Public possession of alcohol is not a punishable offence for 16 and 17-year-old test purchasers;
4. Public possession of alcohol is not a punishable offence for 14 and 15 year old students in the context of an internship in a hotel or restaurant;
5. Regulation of the independent position and reimbursements of the National Examination Board;
6. A lift of almost all the terms concerning the licensed outlet (such as size of the floor area, height and the presence of toilets).

Until 8 May 2019 anyone can make suggestions for improving the draft bill. The input that the various parties submit to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport can possibly lead to changes to the bill. The bill is expected to be submitted to the Lower House in the autumn.

Source: rijksoverheid.nl.

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