The city of Maastricht in the Netherland has banned some foreign tourists from entering coffee shops where cannabis is openly sold.
City officials in Maastricht, which is near the German and Belgian borders, attracts large numbers of tourists who purchase soft drugs and pose threats to public order and also cause serious traffic jams.
Reportedly, 6,000 foreigners cross the border into Maastricht daily.
Interestingly, the ban does not apply to Germans and Belgians (who form the majority of tourists travelling to the city).
In any case, beginning Saturday, anyone who is lacking a Dutch, Belgian or German passport will be ordered to leave the coffee shops.
Meanwhile, according to BBC, coffee shop owners in Maastricht said the ban would hurt the local economy.
Marc Josemans, chairman of the Association of Official Coffee Shops Maastricht (VOCM), told Reuters: All these clients who are banned from the Dutch coffee shops... have to return to the illegal circuit in their own country, therefore it will become a bigger problem and cause more criminality in those countries, he told Reuters.
VOCM estimates that visitors to the coffee shops spend about estimated 140-million euros ($188-million) elsewhere in the city each year.
Still, the measure taken in Maastricht may lead to more crackdowns across the country (the Dutch parliament is considering nationwide bans on drug tourists).
Last December, the European Court of Justice ruled that Dutch authorities could prevent foreigners from entering cannabis-selling coffee shops.
BBC reported that there are about 700 such coffee shops in Holland which sell cannabis and soft drugs – which are not exactly “legal” per se, but have been decriminalized.