In an effort to curb drug tourism, promote healthier living and to better fight crime throughout its cities, the Dutch government is taking action to prevent foreign visitors from buying cannabis from “coffee shops.”
Under new laws, only Dutch residents would be able to sign up as members of cannabis shops. They would be required to sign up for at least a year’s membership and each shop would be expected to have only up to 1,500 members.
The southern provinces of Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland will be the first to roll out the new policies by the end of the year, with the rest of the country to follow next year. Some of the country’s border towns have already begun following the new rules in an effort to lead the charge of cleaning up the country of their “drug-friendly” reputation, which has made the Netherlands one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.
Amsterdam, the country’s top tourist destination—in large part due to its cannabis-friendly reputation—has already begun shutting down some its widely popular coffee shops in the red light district. The city is home to roughly 220 such shops, and some officials have already indicated that they will fight the new measures, taking their operations underground, speak-easy style, if need be.