End of the road for tourists' high times in Holland
Wed, 02 May 2012 10:47p.m.
By Elizabeth Puranam
It is no secret that many a young Kiwis overseas’ experience has included some time in the Netherlands taking advantage of the country's relaxed approach to soft drugs.
But the high times are coming to an end with a new law making it illegal for Dutch coffee houses to sell cannabis to tourists.
These coffee cannabis shops have been attracting tourists to the Netherlands for 40 years but some locals say they are fed up with pot-smoking holiday makers hanging around their towns and cities, and foreign drug dealers muscling in on the action.
Now a law banning the sale of cannabis to foreigners has gone into force in three southern provinces.
The law also limits the sale of soft drugs to locals and coffee shops will only be allowed to sell to a maximum of 2000 registered customers per shop.
Politicians say the measures are needed to stamp out crimes related to the drug trade and to limit cannabis consumption in the country.
But others say the law is counter-productive.
Today, 300 coffee shop owners presented the mayor with a citizen's petition. They were joined by hundreds protesting the new law.
But despite the opposition, the law was upheld by a Dutch court last week and came into effect yesterday.
The rest of the Netherlands will be closely watching to see what happens, before the drug ban goes nationwide next year.
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