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Tourists Could Be Banned From Marijuana Bars -
Category: News
Tourists Could Be Banned From Marijuana Bars

Tourists Could Be Banned From Marijuana Bars

THE HAGUE, Netherlands?The Dutch government moved a step closer to barring tourists from Holland's signature marijuana bars with a ruling by the European Court of Justice on Thursday that the ban wouldn't violate European laws.

The Luxembourg-based court said the southern Dutch city of Maastricht was within its rights when it briefly banned non-Dutch residents from its soft drugs dens in 2005.

The policy aimed at curbing problems by so-called drug tourists who flock to the city from nearby Belgium and Germany. The visitors have a reputation for rowdiness, creating havoc on the roads and in the city's narrow medieval lanes.

While marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly for decades in designated cafes, known as "coffee shops." Police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.

However, the new conservative government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte is planning to make the coffee shops members-only clubs, aiming to shut out tourists.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten has said he wants to turn coffee shops back into small neighborhood haunts where locals can smoke pot in peace, instead of the large-scale tourist magnets many have become.

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