Netherlands judge to decide if foreign tourists should be banned from Cannabis Cafes
A judge in the Netherlands is set to decide whether foreign tourists should be banned from entering cannabis cafes.
While soft drugs are tolerated, there is growing concern at tourists visiting just for drugs, and foreign dealers selling illegally at home.
The ban is due to start in three southern provinces next month, with a nationwide ban by the end of the year.
The case of a group of cafe owners who have tried to block the ban is being considered at The Hague district court.
If the measure is approved Dutch residents will still be allowed into the cafes, as long as they have valid identification, or possibly hold a new “weed pass” which is also being debated.
There are about 700 coffee shops, as they are called, in the Netherlands. The cultivation and sale of soft drugs through them is decriminalised, although not legal.
If the coffee shop owners lose their case they say they will take it to the European Court of Human Rights, on the grounds that the Dutch should not be allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of where they live.
In November the city of Maastricht brought in a coffee shop ban for foreign tourists from all countries, except Belgium and Germany, from where the majority of foreign customers come.
The moves are part of a tougher approach to drugs introduced by the coalition government elected 18 months ago.
In October strong cannabis was reclassified as a hard drug, amid concerns that it has a psychotic effect on some users.
The move forced cannabis coffee shops to remove the more popular stronger varieties from their shelves.
Source: BBC News