On Friday, April 27, a Dutch court upheld a new law which prohibits tourists, or non-residents, from obtaining marijuana in any of the 600+ cannabis cafes around the Netherlands, but does not prohibit the visitors from consuming or possessing the plant. Attorneys defending some of the cannabis cafes argued in court that it has not been proven that foreigners are causing more of a public order problem than locals, but the Hague district court judge ruled the new law is legal, and come Tuesday, May 1st, 3 Southern border provinces must comply. The rest of the country will see the ban on selling to foreigners by the start of 2013.
Cannabis tourism is a long standing tradition and source of income to many, small amounts of pot have been legally sold to visitors since 1976.The ban is met with fierce opposition in cities like Amsterdam, places where cannabis tourism account for a large source of the income for the city. The legal sale of cannabis in the Netherlands is estimated to have a $2.6 billion yearly turnover and many cafe owners say they will disobey the new law. Michael Veling, 56, owner of the 420 Cafe and chairman of the Dutch Union of Cannabis Retailers told the Washington Post that shop owners in the city of Maastricht were planning to ignore “this ridiculous law” and were “ready to be arrested.” Maastricht is one of the 3 provinces where the ban begins on Tuesday.
Dutch residents are eligible for a “grass or weed pass” which the cannabis cafes are responsible for issuing and checking the validity of. On Friday, after the Dutch court’s ruling, attorneys defending some of the cafes vowed to appeal the case, Maurice Veldman among them. “We are not a free country anymore because our government asks us to discriminate” Veldman said.
Read through the articles I looked at regarding this story: