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Tuesday 23 December  
Maastricht coffeeshops turn away tourists
Belinda van Steijn's picture
Maastricht, Netherlands
Maastricht, Netherlands

Maastricht coffeeshops turn away tourists

Published on : 2 October 2011 - 5:49pm | By Belinda van Steijn (Photo: Flickr/Rogiro)
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French tourists left the coffeeshops of Maastricht disappointed this weekend. Since Saturday the soft drug cafés have been refusing to sell cannabis to foreign tourists – except for Germans and Belgians. Visitors from other countries say it’s downright discrimination.

“It’s strange,” said one perplexed tourist. “What’s the difference between Germany and Luxembourg? I don’t understand.”

Each year 2.2 million people make their way to buy cannabis in Maastricht, sandwiched as it is between neighbouring Germany and Belgium. The trade causes traffic jams and nuisance in the street. With rightwing parties firmly in the saddle in The Hague, politicians have been demanding action to tackle the problem.

But it's not politicians that are barring the foreign weed smokers in Maastricht. The idea came from the coffeeshop proprietors themselves. It's an attempt to stave off political pressure. 

As far as the coffeeshop owners are concerned,  tourists don't cause the trouble anyway, says spokesman Marc Josemans.

“It’s the street dealers, the illegal drug runners. They approach our customers between the coffeeshop and the car park and offer them all sorts of stuff. These people are a danger in the neighbourhood because they’re threatening and aggressive.”

By 2013, half of the 14 coffee shops will have moved to the outskirts of the city, so foreigners will be allowed back in. The present measure is a temporary solution.

Pass system
“I’m ashamed that I have to show the door to customers who’ve been coming to my coffeeshop for 28 years and have never caused any trouble,” says Marc Josemans. “But coffeeshops in the Netherlands are under heavy pressure from the present cabinet. The only thing we can do is make sure we can keep business going until a more realistic policy comes along – or a more realistic cabinet.”

The coffeeshops hope that their anti-tourist measure will deter the government from introducing a pass system whereby only Dutch citizens would be allowed to buy cannabis. This would only cause more trouble, says Marc Josemans, because it would stimulate illegal street dealing.

The nuisance around coffeeshops isn’t only an issue in Maastricht, but also in other Dutch towns and cities close to the border. They will no doubt be keeping a close eye on developments in Maastricht.



Dann 14 August 2014 - 10:42am / Denmark

phedophile sex,
children sexi died peacefully in May of 1519.

afwafwafwafwa 18 April 2014 - 10:07am

I hate to say this but at least the Chinese are doing a way better job than the Malaysian government. This whole time the rotting fish has been coming from Malaysia if you ask me. Like how at the beginning they kept quiet for a few days when the Vietnamese spotted oil slicks, and a little bit before that if I can remember correctly it was China that reported the plane missing? But it took days for Malaysia to confirm that?

Greg224 18 April 2014 - 10:07am / FRANCE

What makes you think China isn't contributing greatly? According to info I've seen from AU, the Chinese has provided several ships and aircraft for the search. The US has provided an underwater drone and FBI help. NASA may also be helping in recent days. Malaysia, China, and Australia are doing the greatest search ops from what I read.

Greg22 18 April 2014 - 10:05am / USA

Boom Beach hack

am sure I will get flamed for this statement, but here it is: I think the United States is doing all it can to help find this plane. For the Malaysia Goverment to ask more of us as taxpayers paying for this is beyond the pale. China has resources, they need to step up and do more. We are not the world police and while I feel deeply for the people that lost their life and their families, we can't continue to take the lead because other countries won't step up to the plate. If it was an American plane that was lost You can be sure the Malaysia Government wouldn't lift a finger or send a plane to help.

JerseyJ 14 December 2011 - 1:29am / Jersey

Can't work this one out. DE and BE OK, UK and FR not, Surely this has to be illegal in an EU sense (yes I do recognise the irony of aBrit complaining about differential treatment within the EU). Well done Dutch legislators (and Gemeenschafts!) I will not now be spending circa 3000euro P.A. being an otherwise very law abiding and appreciative tourist in your country. What next... introduce a Jenever Pass?

Anonymous 12 October 2011 - 11:06am

Is there anywhere that "tourist" can buy now? Or has it all been changed for residents only?

Thank you!

Hiram1 5 October 2011 - 1:27am

No, Ted, marijuana is dangerous to one's health and this old, red-neck dog taint going to change. Ted, please don't assume.

Malcolm Kyle 25 December 2011 - 12:38pm

Hiram, even an old dog should know that cannabis is an extremely medicinal substance with few negative side effects.

Here are just some of the many studies the US Federal Government wish they'd never commissioned:


A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death. Sidney, S et al. Marijuana Use and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, April 1997. p. 585-590. Sept. 2002.


Veterans Affairs scientists looked at whether heavy marijuana use as a young adult caused long-term problems later, studying identical twins in which one twin had been a heavy marijuana user for a year or longer but had stopped at least one month before the study, while the second twin had used marijuana no more than five times ever. Marijuana use had no significant impact on physical or mental health care utilization, health-related quality of life, or current socio-demographic characteristics. Eisen SE et al. Does Marijuana Use Have Residual Adverse Effects on Self-Reported Health Measures, Socio-Demographics or Quality of Life? A Monozygotic Co-Twin Control Study in Men. Addiction. Vol. 97 No. 9. p.1083-1086. Sept. 1997


Marijuana is often called a "gateway drug" by supporters of prohibition, who point to statistical "associations" indicating that persons who use marijuana are more likely to eventually try hard drugs than those who never use marijuana - implying that marijuana use somehow causes hard drug use. But a model developed by RAND Corp. researcher Andrew Morral demonstrates that these associations can be explained "without requiring a gateway effect." More likely, this federally funded study suggests, some people simply have an underlying propensity to try drugs, and start with what's most readily available. Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.


The White House had the National Research Council examine the data being gathered about drug use and the effects of U.S. drug policies. NRC concluded, "the nation possesses little information about the effectiveness of current drug policy, especially of drug law enforcement." And what data exist show "little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use." In other words, there is no proof that prohibition - the cornerstone of U.S. drug policy for a century - reduces drug use. National Research Council. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us. National Academy Press, 2001. p. 193.

05) PROHIBITION MAY CAUSE THE "GATEWAY EFFECT"?): U.S. and Dutch researchers, supported in part by NIDA, compared marijuana users in San Francisco, where non-medical use remains illegal, to Amsterdam, where adults may possess and purchase small amounts of marijuana from regulated businesses. Looking at such parameters as frequency and quantity of use and age at onset of use, they found the following: Cannabis (Marijuana) use in San Francisco was 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample. And lifetime use of hard drugs was significantly lower in Amsterdam, with its "tolerant" marijuana policies. For example, lifetime crack cocaine use was 4.5 times higher in San Francisco than Amsterdam. Reinarman, C, Cohen, PDA, and Kaal, HL. The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 94, No. 5. May 2004. p 836-842.

user avatar
Awesome Ted 3 October 2011 - 8:34am

It's time that other countries stepped up and did the right thing. Legalising marijuana reduces crime, increases government revenue, and has been proven to result in fewer people smoking it. The position of 'coffeshop of northern Europe' is too much for one tiny country to handle.

Hiram1 3 October 2011 - 5:09pm

"It's time that other countries stepped up and did the right thing."...Response: Legalising marijuana doesn't reduce crime. What kind of crime does it reduce? First marijuana is a mind-altering drug and it's long-term usage is addicting. When humans become addicted to drugs, alcohols, and the many other substances; and, can not afford to pay for their habit, they will rob, steal, and murder in order to get the money to pay for it. Legalalising marijuana opens the doors to more addiction and crime. Do you think it is going to be free and everyone will get their fair share of dope? No, according to you, the legalising of marijuana will increase government revenue. Do you think the government will not make it a crime to grow your own marijuana and not pay taxes? The mere act of growing marijuana without paying taxes will be an increase in the crime rate. The government will make you a criminal. Growing it without permission will become a crime. Making marijuana legal will not decrease the usage of marijuana. People use it because it alters their minds. Do you think in countries where alcohol is legal, less people used it? Alcohol abuse is on the rise. Marijuana is no different. Countries need to step-up to the plate and protect the public. They should never make revenue from it's citizens by legalising and taxing marijuana.

Malcolm Kyle 25 December 2011 - 12:32pm

Hiram, you appear to be expressing an opinion on a subject you know nothing about.

According to the Australian National Drug Research Institute (2003): "Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs are prematurely killing around seven million people worldwide each year, and robbing tens of millions more of a healthy life. The research into the global burden of disease attributable to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs found that in 2000, tobacco use was responsible for 4.9 million deaths worldwide, equating to 71 percent of all drug-related deaths. Around 1.8 million deaths were attributable to the use of alcohol (26 percent of all drug-related deaths), and illicit drugs (heroin, cocaine and amphetamines) caused approximately 223,000 deaths (3 percent of all drug-related deaths)."

According to DrugRehabs.Org, national mortality figures for 2009 were: tobacco 435,000; poor diet and physical inactivity 365,000; alcohol 85,000; microbial agents 75,000; toxic agents 55,000; motor vehicle crashes 26,347; adverse reactions to prescription drugs 32,000; suicide 30,622; incidents involving firearms 29,000; homicide 20,308; sexual behaviors 20,000; all illicit drug use, direct and indirect 17,000; and marijuana 0.

Health-related costs per user are eight times higher for those who drink alcohol when compared to those who use marijuana, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers, according to a 2009 review published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal.
It states, "In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user."

Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day increased lung cancer risk by 30 percent.
“Heavy drinking has multiple harmful effects, including cardiovascular complications and increased risk for lung cancer,”
- lead researcher Stanton Siu, MD, of Kaiser Permanente

Marco Marboni 3 October 2011 - 9:50pm / UK

This is where you are wrong my friend by generalising. Marijuana is completely different to alcohol. The Netherlands has kept a relaxed attitude to cannabis for more than 40 years and is the country who has the least "blowers" in Europe (obviously minus the tourists). The trouble for NL started with the Schengen treaty when every smoker in world found an oasis of freedom. It is not NL who have the wrong policy, but the rest of the world. The war on cannabis started thanks to the USA and the Nixon administration (which we all know how it ended) and since then no-one (except the Netherlands) accepted that there is no war against a plant that exists since 5000 years ago and has many positive properties and good uses. You have been brainwashed that all drugs kill, when the Netherlands has proved for 40 years that no-one has ever, ever died from using marijuana (whilst milions die from smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol every year). That's the difference my friend.

Hiram1 4 October 2011 - 1:24am

Marco, I never said one would die from marijuana. You stated "You have been brainwashed that all drugs kill...." It is addictive and it affects the user's concentration and reasoning. Your comment about me saying all drugs kill is one of those negative affects of marijuana on the human brain and that is a fact. I agree with you on alcohol and tobacco but that does not justify the use of wacky tobacco.

Malcolm Kyle 25 December 2011 - 12:48pm

Hiram, it may be a good idea if you were to at least do a minimum of research before expressing your opinion in public.

The following text is taken directly from the US government's National Cancer Institute website:


One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.

In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.


In addition, both plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids have been studied for anti- inflammatory effects. A mouse study demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoid system signaling is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation. As a result, a hypothesis that phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids may be useful in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer has been developed.


Another study has shown delta-9-THC is a potent and selective antiviral agent against Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8. The researchers concluded that additional studies on cannabinoids and herpesviruses are warranted, as they may lead to the development of drugs that inhibit the reactivation of these oncogenic viruses. Subsequently, another group of investigators reported increased efficiency of KSHV infection of human dermal microvascular epithelial cells in the presence of low doses of delta-9-THC.


Many animal studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite in mice. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.


Understanding the mechanism of cannabinoid-induced analgesia has been increased through the study of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and synthetic agonists and antagonists. The CB1 receptor is found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals. Similar to opioid receptors, increased levels of the CB1 receptor are found in sections of the brain that regulate nociceptive processing. CB2 receptors, located predominantly in peripheral tissue, exist at very low levels in the CNS. With the development of receptor-specific antagonists, additional information about the roles of the receptors and endogenous cannabinoids in the modulation of pain has been obtained.

user avatar
Awesome Ted 4 October 2011 - 11:25am

If you wish fewer people smoked it, you should promote its legalisation. See consumption rates among Dutch and Portugese citizens. If you're not afraid of reading some facts, try this Time article:,8599,1893946,00.html

Hiram1 4 October 2011 - 2:37pm

I never said that I wished fewer people smoke "it".

Malcolm Kyle 25 December 2011 - 12:25pm

Hiram, you've been expressing the clear opinion that you believe cannabis is dangerous and harmful, so it would be reasonable to assume that you would also desire that less people should use it.

According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 -- roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

Here is a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation

The Dutch justice ministry announced, in May 2009, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There's simply not enough criminals

user avatar
Awesome Ted 4 October 2011 - 3:17pm

I'll assume that response means, "I read the Time article, Ted, and I'm reconsidering my opinion on legalisation."
Well good for you, Hiram, I guess an old dog can learn a new trick.

Gerrard22 18 April 2014 - 10:09am / Thanjs

clash of clans hack

What makes you think China isn't contributing greatly? According to info I've seen from AU, the Chinese has provided several ships and aircraft for the search. The US has provided an underwater drone and FBI help. NASA may also be helping in recent days. Malaysia, China, and Australia are doing the greatest search ops from what I read.

Hiram1 5 October 2011 - 6:17am

I guess a young pup like you hasn't expierence very much and that is your excuse for being ignorant on so the adverse affects thc has on young minds. THC has a tendency to make one assume things without the facts. It is a psycho-active drug and affects logic. You need to do some research and stop assuming.

Malcolm Kyle 25 December 2011 - 12:17pm / USA

Hiram, If you genuinely believe that prohibition is an effective policy for dealing with substance use and addiction, then why are you not calling for drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, along with non-drug activities such as gambling or even dangerous sports that also pose a high risk to people’s health, to be assessed according to the same criteria? Or are you quite happy for the majority of us to carry on regarding you as a disingenuous hypocrite whose tirade against the users of drugs, other than those you favor, is not based on genuine concern for people’s wellbeing but on your own personal prejudices?

Anonymous 3 October 2011 - 4:04am

All foreigners should not go anymore to Dutch coffee shops; boycott them all.No more tourism to the country of racist and discriminating noncompoops, moonrakers and sapheads.

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