Tourists to be banned from buying cannabis in the Netherlands
Dutch government: No more dope for tourists
The government of the Netherlands on Friday said it would start banning visitors from buying cannabis from "coffee shops". It also said that some restrictions on Dutch customers would be imposed by the end of the year.
Coffee shops are establishments in the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the local authorities. As this is illegal in most countries, many tourists from around the world travel to Amsterdam to use cannabis.
Backed by the far-right party of anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, the coalition government that came into power last year announced plans to curb drug tourism as mart of a nationwide programme to promote health and fight crime.
"In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end," the Dutch health and justice ministers wrote in a letter to the country's parliament on Friday.
Under the new rules, only Dutch residents will be able to sign up as members of cannabis shops.
Under the new rules a membership system for coffee shops will be introduced. The new system will require members of coffee shops to be a citizen of the Netherlands and over the age of 18.
The city of Amsterdam, where most tourists go, is against the decision.
The policy will roll out in the southern provinces of Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland by the end of the year and the rest of the country next year, the spokesman said.
Some Dutch border towns including Maastricht and Terneuzen have already restricted the sale of marijuana to foreigners.