Cannabis tourism under threat in Netherlands

Ruling expected on possible ban of tourists from cafés

The Netherlands’ reputation among tourists for its tolerance of soft drugs is at stake as a judge is expected to rule, possibly today, on whether foreign visitors should be banned from cannabis cafés. The ban would be enforced across the country by the end of 2012. Dutch residents would still be able to visit the cafés, possibly with a new “weed pass”, which is also under debate. However, a group of café owners are arguing at a court in The Hague that the ban is discriminatory against foreigners.
There are around 700 “coffee shops” in the country where police allow possession of up to five grams of cannabis. The Mayor of Amsterdam, a city where a third of all tourists smoke cannabis in the cafés, is among those against the nationwide ban.
[pictured: Damrak, Amsterdam]

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