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The end of an era as the Dutch change their drug laws

01/05/12 06:33 CET

A controversial law making it harder for foreign tourists to buy cannabis in the Netherlands comes into effect today.

The law which is initially being tried out in three southern provinces reverses 40 years of maintaining a liberal drugs policy. It’s aimed at reducing crime.

It means from now on coffee shops can only sell cannabis to registered members.

But there may be an unforeseen consequence to the move – police in neighbouring Belgium are convinced locals may try to cash in and begin growing cannabis plants themselves to supply tourists frustrated by the tougher Dutch legislation.

Belgium’s interior minister has warned that any anyone trying to flout Belgium drug laws by selling illegal substances will be dealt with by the police.

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