Amsterdam's Cannabis Cafés Will Remain Open to Foreigners


Dick Cowan called it: The new Dutch government has abandoned plans to create a national "weed pass," available only to citizens and residents, for admission to cannabis cafés. Instead cities will decide whether foreigners may patronize "coffee shops" that sell marijuana, which is still technically illegal in the Netherlands but tolerated at the retail level. Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, who opposed the previous government's efforts to exclude tourists from one of his city's best-known attractions, says people from other countries will remain welcome at establishments such as the Bulldog, Abraxas, and the Grasshopper, because barring them would create more problems than it would solve:

The 1.5 million tourists will not say "then no more marijuana." They will swarm all over the city looking for drugs. This would lead to more robberies, quarrels about fake drugs, and no control of the quality of drugs on the market. Everything we have worked towards would be lost to misery.

The BBC notes that Amsterdam "relies heavily on tourism, and cannabis users make up about a third of its total visitors." And it may soon face competition from Seattle and Denver.