Tourists No Longer Welcome in Holland’s Marijuana Cafes
Holland’s liberal soft drug laws don’t sit all that well with the new ruling far right coalition government and they’re already starting out on the changes they’d promised by legislating restrictions on the sale of marijuana in the country’s famous cannabis cafes, or ‘coffee shops’.
Under the new rules, which will go into effect in the new year, cannabis cafes will become private clubs and only Dutch citizens who sign up as annual members will be permitted to purchase marijuana within. Additionally, each club’s membership capacity will be capped at 1500 members. There are currently 750 cannabis cafes in Holland.
The government announced the initiative as part of measures taken to increase health and to reduce crime. In a letter to parliament, the Dutch Health and Justice Ministers wrote, "In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end.” Although many critics have questioned the wisdom of the new legislation, worrying particularly about a potential loss of tourism, the Dutch Ministers say that the impact will be slight, arguing that, ‘We attract other types of tourists apart from drugs tourists.”
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