Drug Policy

Judge Upholds Dutch Policy Banning Foreigners From Cannabis Cafés


Today a judge in the Hague upheld a new Dutch policy excluding foreigners from cannabis cafés. The plan, which transforms the cafés into clubs open only to Dutch citizens and legal residents, is scheduled to take effect in southern provinces next month and throughout the country by the end of the year. The ban is aimed at addressing nuisances associated with "drug tourism" in border towns (some of which involves travelers buying pot for resale in other countries). But in Amsterdam, which has more than 200 "coffee shops" (about a third of the national total) and welcomes visitors attracted by the cannabis culture, the city's government has joined café owners in opposing the new policy.

A lawyer for the coffee shops complained that the judge "completely fails to answer the principal question: Can you discriminate against foreigners when there is no public order issue at stake?" He plans to appeal, but a 2011 decision suggests the Dutch Council of State, the country's highest court, may not be receptive to the challenge. In that case, which involved a local ban on selling marijuana to foreigners in Maastricht, the Council of State said discriminating against people from other countries does "infringe European law on the freedom to provide services" but "is permissible in the interests of combating drug tourism and the nuisance associated with it." Opponents of the national ban presumably will have to argue that it is illegal insofar as it applies in places, such as Amsterdam, where drug tourism is not considered a nuisance.

A political solution seems more likely. A.P. notes that "the Dutch government collapsed this week and new elections are scheduled for September," adding that "it is unclear whether the new administration will keep the new measures in place." 

Previous coverage of the ban on foreigners here.

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  1. Nothing jump starts a crappy economy like banning economic activity!

    Go government!

  2. Oh, and 1anth.

  3. You thought Romney is tough on immigrants? He’s got nothing on the Dutch!

    1. Anyway, like I said when I first chose this particular handle: I’m a Dutchman myself. Yup, I love me some windmills, dikes (both kinds) and Gouda cheese. Now where’s my dope?

  4. There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch

      1. With their chocolate, and pocket knives…

  5. I think that the position that the Dutch should take is that the rest of the world (or at least Europe) should legalize so that they don’t get so many people coming to the border towns just for the dope.

  6. having been to maastricht moar than once, there are hordes of german & belgics, on weekends, getting high, pissing all over, & vomiting. the locals had enough.

    1. The fucking Krauts piss and vomit everywhere regardless of the availability of weed. Ever been to Mediterranean Turkey?

      1. The limeys do this in Barcelona and are the most hated tourists along with the Germans in a close second place. Interestingly, they love American tourists because it’s not cheap to go there so the American tourists are pretty well behaved…and they tip American-style, so wait staff will kneecap each other to get an American table. The normal tip there is for the customer to throw down 2-3 Euros regardless of the price of the meal, but Americans will automatically do 18%.

        1. One lousy minute…

        2. We do two things better than the rest of the world: Tip and make drinks with ice in them.

          1. Yeah, the rest of the world apparently likes drinks slight cooler than room temperature.

            1. It’s like time-traveling to the Medieval era. Ice! Come on, it’s easy to make!

              1. If it needs to be cold to taste good, then it doesn’t taste very good.

                1. What are you, Zebulon, a communist? Nothing is more American than ice. Nothing. The Russians used to test suspected spies by offering them iced beverages.

                2. Warm [as in above 0 degrees Centigrade] Ice Cream?

          2. But them Euros do have Fanta Limon. Why don’t we have Fanta Limon?

            1. We call it Sprite.

              1. Not the same!

              2. But we do have Pellegrino Limonata.

                1. My Central Market and Whole Foods have that

            2. I have wondered that since the first time I went to Spain in the 80s. We have all kinds of stupid Fanta flavors like Pineapple now, but still no lemon. And Sprite or 7-Up doesn’t come close. The Pellegrino stuff is pretty great, though.

              1. Actually, I liked the Kaas Limon even better than Fanta. I don’t know if that still exists.

      2. The Brits are big on this kind of behavior as well, but they prefer Spain and Portugal.

        1. PWN’D

    2. In my experience there is plenty of dope to be had in Belgium. I’m not sure why they bother going to Maastricht. I once almost got popped crossing back into Belgium with some hash I had brought with me from Belgium and forgot about. Then hung out with the cop who had strip searched me for a while while waiting for the next train discussing how much more fun Belgium is than the Netherlands.

      1. They cannot search you for drugs anymore on the trains, thanks to Schengen.

      2. Possibly a dumb question, but was this pre-EU? Or do they still do border checks?

        1. This was about 10 years ago, definitely not pre-EU or pre-Schengen. I don’t know if they do it anymore, but from talking to the police about it afterward, it seems that the Dutch were doing it occasionally because of pressure from France and Germany to do something about people bringing stuff back from Holland. It wasn’t a border check, but they brought a dog on the train in Roosendaal (border town near Antwerp). Fortunately remembered the little bit I had and dumped it in the trash when I heard the dog coming. I’m still kind of curious what would have happened if they had found something. I can’t imagine it would have been too bad for less than a gram of hash (I’m pretty sure that was decrim in Belgium too at that point, but who knows when you are crossing borders. I think that they were mostly looking for coke and E anyway. A lot of that stuff comes through there as well.

    3. Getting high does not make one piss and yack. There has to be something else the Germans are getting in to.

  7. “There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.”

    1. Shit, should have looked at the other comments. Sundance beat me to it by 6 minutes.

  8. I was really surprised with how much I disliked Amsterdam. The whole time I was there I just wanted to leave. The only thing that made it tolerable were the cafes.

    1. Really? I love that city. Just got to get out of the red light district. Smoking a spliff and walking/biking around Jordaan is lovely.

      1. I think it’s very nice too. But I never have wanted to be there for more than a couple days.

        1. Watching American pro sports live in a cafe at 3 in the morning with beer and a pile of weed on the table.

  9. OT: Anybody else getting the ad asking them to support Sherrif Joe in taking our country back?

    Uh, no, and DIAF for even asking.

    1. I have been getting that one from time to time.

      Probably because *fascist monthly* sold him their mailing list.

    2. Yeah, I click on it a couple times a day. (Also, Sherrod Brown and Reverse Citizens United!) If Sheriff Joe PAC wants to support Reason.org, that’s okay by me.

      Obama 2012 seems to have wised up. Too bad.

      1. I haven’t clicked on ads I disagree with (surely there’s a word for this practice, isn’t there? what is it??) because I don’t know the amount that it costs the advertiser. Is it a dime? A nickel? A tenth of a cent? Does anyone know? I assume the site (& the amount of its traffic) figures heavily as well.

    3. I complained about that and the Worf Obama ads, so now the squirrels accommodate me with an elven princess with a huge cameltoe.

  10. I’m surprised that libertarians don’t see where this is going. In a few weeks, the Dutch government will be renting limited citizenship by the day. It will be colloquially known as the Cover Charge.

    1. Like the old Utah liquor laws? To get cocktails, you had to join the “private club”, $1 for a one-week membership.

      1. As scams go, it’s a good one.

  11. If only our government would collapse, and a new administration wouldn’t keep new measures in place.

  12. Say goodbye to your tourism industry, Nether Regions.

  13. Science Damn You drug warriors!

  14. This is some monumentally stupid activity by the Dutch. I’m not sure they realize that if they actually succeeded in shutting off all drug tourism then I don’t see what gets Amsterdam any more tourists than, say, Copenhagen (I’m assuming A’dam currently has more).
    But in all likelihood, I doubt this gets strictly enforced in Amsterdam. Shrooms for example were banned in 2008, but in 2009 I had no trouble finding them.

  15. I hope this doesn’t go in to effect in Amsterdam until after early July. I planned our 10th wedding anniversary the way I did in no small part because we would be in Amsterdam, and, goddammit, Imma go to a cafe.

    That said, I’m not sure how the state can possibly enforce this law. Are they going to start going around and carding for citizenship? Even if they can, there will be nothing to stop sales from happening outside of the coffee shops. The marijuana revenue stream is already there; no way will proprietors just watch as government takes it away from them without due cause.

    1. Exactly, especially when the city government is on the cafe’s side

      Short of the national government mandating citizenship checks and posting troops outside each cafe I don’t see how they can enforce it.

    2. Especially when you consider that the coffee shops are already operating in a semi-legal area.

  16. There goes Dutch’s tourism industry. Why the fuck else would I want to go there?

    1. To get a nice pair of wooden shoes?

      1. I had a Dutch-born boss once many years ago. A real asshole. I finally got fed up with his abuse and quit, but not before calling him a “wooden shoe-wearing wetback.”

  17. Gotta love those Kangaroo Court Judges lol.


  18. I think it’s time we start legalizing Marijuana everywhere. Stop living in fear and start thinking about how great the future will be! LEGALIZE IT!

    Why don’t we just start legalizing it everywhere? Why are so many people still stuck in this FEAR stage…? Stop worrying, start hoping. LEGALIZE IT!

    If you live in a state where Marijuana isn’t legal yet and still want the same type of highs, I suggest checking out uIntoxicate.com. It has amazingly detailed legal highs reviews and where to get them without getting ripped off!
    Also! I’m starting up a new forum dedicated to my fellows stoners. Come on over and join the high conversations! We’re quite new, but VERY welcoming.

    CHECK IT: http://uintoxicate.com/
    STONER FORUMS: http://www.stonersofthestates.com/forum/

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