CNN reports on the latest developments of the Netherlands planning to ban foreigners from the country’s famed pot shops, a decision Amsterdam’s tourism industry hopes goes up in smoke.
The Dutch Cabinet late last month said the measure was needed to “reduce nuisance and drugs tourism,” arguing that “substance use of minors has to be countered more strongly and that coffee shops have grown into large points of sale of cannabis that are hard to manage.”
Known as the “Weed Pass,” the measure will turn coffee shops into private clubs for Dutch citizens over the age of 18. The memberships will last for a minimum of a year, and each shop will have a capped number of members.
The Netherlands has one of Europe’s most liberal soft drug policies and its coffee shops are a popular tourist attraction, especially in Amsterdam and border cities near Belgium and Germany.
Amsterdam, home to 223 coffee shops, is already in the process of closing some in the red light district to tackle criminal activity in the area, and was studying the government proposal.
Under the current plan, the measure to ban foreigners from coffee shops will go into effect this year in the southern part of the Netherlands, and then for the rest of the country in 2012. The city of Amsterdam, including its mayor, has vowed to fight the measure.
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