A Dutch court has ruled that an upcoming government ban on the country’s famous coffee shops is legal and can go ahead in three southern provinces on May 1.
Liberal Dutch drugs policy is now to be restricted, with fewer coffee shops becoming membership only, and to locals, not tourists. The association of coffee shop owners says it is a mistake.
“The only party that’s going to gain from these new rules are the criminal organisations, to be honest with you. Staff in the coffee shops will lose their jobs, clients will be criminalised again because they have to return to the illegal circuit. Economic influence in this town is being lost. Tourism suicide, one might call it. Actually everyone loses except the criminal organisations,” says the chairman of the Maastricht Coffee Shops Association Marc Josemans.
Some Dutch residents in frontier zones resent the influx of dope tourists in search of grass and high jinks at the weekend, made worse by the new “superstrains” of very strong cannabis like “skunk”.