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Amsterdam to Ban Cannabis Coffee Shops to Americans Tourists in Months

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Amsterdam must have too many tourists: the Dutch government now officially bans global and American tourists from buying cannabis or hash at "coffee shops" -- making pot restrictions real before year's end.

The Dutch are officially kissing millions in revenue goodbye in a final farewell, as tourism will be headed for other worldwide destinations.

Flowers may be appealing but coffee shops -- carrying cannabis shops and other amenities for sale -- rank among the most popular tourist attraction for the Netherlands and especially Amsterdam. The Dutch Daily News says its government's decision to ban foreigners and tourists from buying pot and hash in Dutch cannabis coffee shops is slated to produce a negative impact on tourism to the Netherlands -- "And especially to Amsterdam," according to the Dutch Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC).

No kidding?

As things stand, Amsterdam has a young age group of tourists that don't return to the country when they get more money in their golden years -- and now the country probably won't be seeing that tourism during their younger years either.

With the Netherlands well-known for supporting one of Europe's most liberal soft drug policies, it seems a right-wing conservative is changing those policies. Far-right, anti-immigrant, politician Geert Wilders and the coalition government that recently came into power is already having widespread effects -- at least for tourism. He's announcing plans to curb drug tourism for, of all things, part of a nationwide program to promote health and fight crime.

It seems someone has a misconception about where the problem with criminals may lie.

"In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end," proclaims the Dutch health and justice ministers in a letter to Amsterdam's parliament.

Under the new rules of the cannabis and hash ban, only Dutch residents will be able to sign up and belong as members of cannabis shops -- no tourists allowed.

Dutch coffee shop customers who intend to purchase cannabis will have to sign up for at least a year's membership at the Amsterdam business -- and each shop will be limited to just 1,500 members. The new coffees shop policy -- which will now block American tourists from purchasing or using cannabis at any of the Dutch coffee shops -- will first roll out in the southern Amsterdam provinces of Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland by the end of 2011. The remainder of the country will be subject to the cannabis ban by next year in 2012.

While he's cracking down on crime perhaps Geert Wilders will discover some reason, other than tulips, to get back American tourists and their money that he just kissed goodbye on behalf of his war on drugs.

Amsterdam currently houses about 220 coffee shops and is now closing some in its red light district. Other politicians are arguing against the closures and measures, providing the simple argument that it's simply going to push the soft drug trade to an "underground" status.
Some Dutch border towns including Maastricht and Terneuzen have already restricted the sale of marijuana to foreigners.

The Dutch Board of Tourism & Conventions organization is conducting an immediate investigation into economic impact: the lack of coffee shop use by Americans alone will likely tally to a hefty hit for Amsterdam. Roughly 25% of global tourists visit one of the famous "coffee shops" during vacations to the area. It ain't just about the tulips. Patrons can openly, and legally, use cannabis chosen from a menu of options -- with estimates that 10% of tourists visit Amsterdam specifically to enjoy coffee shop treats.

But that's all ending. Coffee shop treats will be no more in coming months.

Perhaps once Geert Wilders has solved Amsterdam's horrible "crime problem", he'll be able to tackle that baffling "tourism problem".


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