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Dutch Want to Ban Foreigners From Marijuana Coffee Shops

The newly elected rightist Dutch government said last Wednesday it wants to bar foreigners from buying marijuana in the Netherlands' famous cannabis coffee shops. The move is part of a national crackdown on drug use, a government spokesman said.

The Dutch government doesn't want your business. (image via Wikimedia)
For more than 30 years, Holland has allowed the sale of small amounts of marijuana (currently up to five grams) in coffee shops, even though laws against marijuana possession technically remained on the books. In recent years, conservative governments have increasingly signaled their unhappiness with the status quo and have embarked on campaigns to reduce the number of coffee shops.

Dutch coffee shops are a popular tourist destination, especially with visitors from neighboring France, Germany, Belgium, and other countries with more repressive approaches to pot. But some border towns have already moved to bar foreigners, citing traffic, congestion, and public order problems.

 Last Wednesday, Dutch Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten told NOS radio the governing coalition had agreed to limit marijuana sales to Dutch residents in order to curb crime linked to marijuana production and sales. "No tourist attractions," said Opstelten. "We don't like that."

But it is not "drug tourism" that creates crime around pot cultivation and distribution. Instead, it is Holland's half-baked approach to tolerating marijuana. The Dutch government allows for legal retail marijuana sales, but does not allow for a legal method of growing marijuana to supply the coffee shops. That leaves the door open for criminals to get involved in the trade.

While some border towns have already acted to bar foreigners, there is less enthusiasm for a ban in Amsterdam, home to some 223 coffee shops. The municipal government there said it was studying the government proposal. "We are taking the current practice as a starting point. It is not perfect but in many ways we have a functioning coffee shop system," an Amsterdam city spokesman said.

The "no foreigners" policy has not yet been formally drafted and no firm date for the ban has yet been set. But it looks like foreign pot smokers are about to join Muslims as persona non grata in the brave new Holland.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Not Exactly News

This story about "banning foreigners from coffee shops" has been around for over a decade or maybe longer. It's reached urban myth status. Whenever the Dutch want to look tough on drug tourism, and thus avoid U.N. censure, they have their Christian Dems call a press conference. It must have been a slow news week for them. The Dutch make way too much money from cannabis and prostitution ever to fully enact this piece of tomfoolery. Don't fall for it.

thanks for the heads up

thanks for the heads up

Hollanders Know Better

Despite its obvious flaws, and despite the existence of the Christian Democratic Party, the Dutch have the best system of cannabis regulation on the planet.  The land of Spinoza is not about mimic the U.S. to become the latest Mad Max of cannabis hysteria. 

Netherlanders have the statistics and facts at their disposal to prove their policies of harm reduction and non-criminalization far outweigh decriminalization and the usual American superstitious manias about pot.  They know, or they should know, that any attempt to ban pot sales to tourists will backfire, as a black market—complete with turf wars—will arise to meet the tourist demand.




That is a weird comment about

That is a weird comment about "joining muslims as persona non grata" because the two issues are profoundly unrelated and it suggests that the rationale behind one carries the same substantive weight as the other.  That is the first journalistic lapse that I have seen on this site.

Good one, Alan

Agreed... that's called "conflation" where I come from ... !

This is an excellent site, and many who post here have great expertise about drug policy and related topics -- but should stick to their strengths. For those who are interested in what is really happening "over there" vis-a-vis Islamists and such, I recommend either of Bruce Bawer's last two books.

borden's picture

Both are examples of the

Both are examples of the rightward shift of Dutch politics in recent years, and of a class of people in some senses being deemed unwelcome by some significant segment of the society. The two phenomenon are related in those ways. If you don't think those analogies are valid, make a case for that, don't just put a name that you haven't proven like "journalistic lapse" on it because you don't like it. I think the analogies are valid, but nothing deeper than that is claimed from them.
borden's picture

Bruce Bawer

Bruce Bawer = fringy fear monger.


I am not a guy who practices drugs. But I have tried it over my earlier years. And trust me you all are good without it for whatever cause it may be. I am very thankful for this post and I hope you do keep posting more such vital information’s. Choose the proper medications.!

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