Dutch near decision on banning tourists from cannabis cafes

Dutch near decision on banning tourists from cannabis cafes

A ruling on whether foreign tourists to Holland should be banned from entering cannabis cafes is expected to be made soon.

If a ban is imposed it would start in three southern provinces next month, extending nationwide one by the end of the year.

If the measure is approved Dutch residents will still be allowed into the country’s 700 cafes, as long as they have valid identification, or possibly hold a new "weed pass" which is also being debated, the BBC reported.

The nationwide ban is being strongly opposed by the mayor of Amsterdam because around a third of the city's tourists visit to smoke cannabis in the cafes.

A group of cafe owners are arguing at The Hague district court that the ban is discriminatory against foreigners.

The cultivation and sale of soft drugs through the coffee shops is decriminalised, although not legal with police generally tolerating possession of up to five grams of cannabis.

Coffee shop owners plan to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if they lose, on the grounds that the Dutch should not be allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of where they live.

Maastricht brought in a coffee shop ban in November for foreign tourists from all countries, except Belgium and Germany, from where the majority of inbound travellers come.

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