The Dutch government announced today that by end of this year the country's famed marijuana-dispensing coffee shops would start to close to tourists and be open only to Dutch citizens.
The government is taking measures to nuisance and to reduce drug tourism. Access to coffee shops is connected to a club card and there is a limit to the number of members. Members must be of age and resident of the Netherlands, the Dutch Government said in a statement.
By next year, no tourists would be able to legally buy marijuana. Under the new regulations passed today, each coffee shop would operate like a private club with some 1,000 to 1,500 members, the Dutch Daily News reported.
The coffee shops belong to our culture.... That will really hit the city bad. Also many young foreigners after their first visit will not return at an older age when they have more money. It's an awkward translation, but you get the drift, the report said.
The cabinet expects that the closure of coffee shops to foreign drug tourists will result in that they no longer travel to the Netherlands for the sale and consumption of cannabis, the cabinet said in the statement. After all, for many of them applies that they can use the existing illegal market in their own country. Nevertheless will the possible side effects of these measures be monitored closely and adequately addressed by the police, judiciary, and administration.