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Friday 31 October  
 coffee shop in the Netherlands
Louise Dunne's picture
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Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam coffee shops to stay open for tourists

Published on : 1 November 2012 - 2:33pm | By Louise Dunne ((C) ANP)
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Amsterdam’s mayor says tourists will be able to keep buying cannabis in the capital’s coffee shops even if they’re not Dutch residents. Speaking to Dutch daily de Volkskrant, Eberhard van der Laan said this would be possible under the policies set out in the new coalition agreement.

The previous government had introduced legislation limiting the sale of cannabis to Dutch residents who had registered with their local coffee shop for a “weed pass”. The system was introduced in a number of southern provinces earlier this year and was due to take effect in the rest of the Netherlands at the beginning of 2013. Van der Laan and the mayors of other large cities have always been opposed to the system, saying it would lead to a surge in street dealing.

Article continues below

"More street crime"
An estimated 7 million tourists visit Amsterdam every year and 1.5 million of them visit a coffee shop during their stay. According to the capital’s mayor, “Those one and a half million people aren’t just going to just say, Ok, no weed. They’ll be swarming all over the city looking for drugs. More street crime, fights over fake drugs, no control over the quality of what’s being sold.”

Tourist attraction

The new cabinet still wants to ban non-residents from coffee shops, but says this will only be enforced in co-operation with local councils, taking municipal policy into account. This means Amsterdam can take its own line according to Van der Laan. The residents-only policy is intended to combat “drugs tourism” which is a problem in the southern border provinces where large numbers of Germans, French and Belgians come to the Netherlands simply to purchase cannabis. But the situation is different in Amsterdam, says the mayor, where a visit to a coffee shop to smoke a joint is just one of the options for tourists.

At the same time, Van der Laan has promised Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten that the city will crack down on coffee shops which don’t follow the rules. “Selling to minors, selling cannabis that’s too powerful, advertising, causing a public nuisance - we’ll be keeping a very close watch. And we’ll take a very tough line.”

 

Discussion

Anonymous 29 March 2013 - 11:17pm / United States

If Amsterdam gets too tight the tourists can always shift to the meccas of Colorado and Washington State!!

Anonymous 24 January 2013 - 10:45pm / England

Well done ''Mayor of AMSTERDAM''a true Councillor for the people-(I hope),all ways value the the interest of your people-(city) and Dont mix others problems to your own..=..(A mayor of the FUTURE).Ps as for the (THC) keep it under control,if its not,that will be the next biggest problem.However in the meantime do it to the MAX...and well done (Mr.E.van de Laan).

clinty84 12 December 2012 - 10:48am / wales

i am a business owner, and am traveling to Amsterdam with 6 of the staff we are all going to and intend to spend £1500 or more and hope to make this a yearly event but can guarantee that if a ban was in place then we would not return. So 6 of us spend £9000 and how many tourists come for coffee shops, your country would lose massive revenue, so i thank the mayors, and hope no ban is ever in place.

Dr GreenThumb 4 December 2012 - 11:34pm

i <3 weed

lawyer-boy 9 November 2012 - 3:07pm / United Kingdom

Lawyer here. Responding to Nat and fredflange.

Whilst EU law prohibits discrimination against foreign nationals, certain rights are reserved for residents and citizens, such as the right to vote. In that respect, limiting the right to cannabis to residents only is not inherently a breach of EU law - and it's already been to the European Court of Justice in 2005.

Nat 4 November 2012 - 1:17pm / Germany

Unless I am mistaken European law makes it illigal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of nationality - surely the elected politicians know this so why are they wasting their time and the Dutch preople tax dollars. Idiots.

Anonymous 7 November 2012 - 7:45pm / EU

This is what I always felt, however given that weed is not actually legal - just decriminalised - I think it would be extremely hard to challenge as a non-Dutch EU citizen.

fredflange 6 November 2012 - 11:11pm

Nationality was never an issue in this legislation. Residency was. So Dutch citizens living in Belgium or Germany were not allowed in coffee shops, Germans or Belgians living in the Netherlands however were. Capice?

Tim 4 November 2012 - 11:52pm / Connecticut, U.S.A.

This is a response to: "Nat" of Germany, 4. November 2012. Nr. 1; you spelt the word "people" wrong! Nr.2; I think it's insanely "STUPID" that there's a E.U. law against discrimination against ANY nationality if they come from a possible country or culture that is hostile to the Euro western world or it's peoples (spelt correctly). It too "idealistic" and it is "stupid", which are ideals many derived from some or many of the Crap-Ass "Baby-Boomer" Generation! That's why I believe the European Union will eventually and rightfully should collapse and come down!!! Hopefully real soon!!! Germany, The Netherlands, and now even the French, are being "sucked- dry" by this whole E.U. thing! The whole muslim immigrant thing has got to stop! That's why I LOVE... "GEERT WILDERS"-www.pvv.nl ! By the way, I'm German extraction too, living in Connecticut state, U.S.A. so don't take it the wrong way. Although, your right these politians are wasting our money!

Anonymous 7 November 2012 - 7:49pm / EU

Tim.

I dig the irony in you correcting Nat's spelling, when you don't even know how to use an apostrophe.

It should be "you're right..."

Oh and you love them exclamation marks don't you?

Anonymous 5 November 2012 - 10:11am / USA

Ted: unkind of you to criticize others' typos when your grammar and typos are worse. FYI you meant "it's people's," not "it's."

Anonymous 5 November 2012 - 10:12am

Darn autocorrect: its peoples!

user avatar
Awesome Ted 2 November 2012 - 12:51pm / NL

Democracy wins again. Federal politicians get to look all hard-assed by passing new legislation. The mayors and others close to the situation are allowed to reject it. No mayor who cares about their community is interested in pushing drug sales out onto the street.

Jayelle Farmer 1 November 2012 - 3:02pm / UK

Terrific! Great News! Thank you, Mr. Eberhard van de Laan.

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