If your dream is to enjoy cannabis in Amsterdam, you maybe need, just in case, to get there by the end of this year. Laws about to come into effect in this famously liberated nation will turn marijuana cafes into “members only” clubs open solely to Dutch residents. “Members” would only be able to get into the coffee shops by registering for a “weed pass” and the shops would only be allowed a maximum of 2,000 members. Dutch coffee shop owners went to court in a last ditch bid to block a government plan to stop foreigners from buying marijuana in the Netherlands. Lawyers representing the coffee shops oppose what would be the most significant change in decades to the country’s famed soft drug tolerance.
This law was crafted to address a problem in the south of the country. There, Europeans cross the border into the Netherlands, buy pot, then take it home for resale (at a profit?). But the law, as written, applies to the whole country. Whether it will be enforced in Amsterdam, whose coffee shops are a major tourist draw card, remains to be seen. Supporters of this new restriction say the government wants to bring coffee shops back to what they were originally intended to be: “small local stores selling to local people.”
One coffee shop owner said that if the court’s April 27 ruling goes against them, the city of Maastricht coffee shops plan to disregard the ruling, forcing the government to prosecute one of them in a test case. Though the weed pass policy was designed to resolve traffic problems facing southern cities, later studies have predicted that the result of the system would be a return to street dealing and an increase in petty crime – which was the reason for the tolerance policy came into being in the 1970s in the first place.
So, just to be sure, move those travel plans up a bit. You know you want to. There’s always more at The Huffington Post.
[image: google images Netherlands flag]
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