A new policy by the Dutch government will ban tourists from coffee shops selling cannabis. Only residents will be allowed to get a "cannabis card" to be used when visiting one of the country's 670 licensed coffee shops. Non-Dutch residents will be banned from cannabis-selling coffee shops in southern Netherlands beginning January 1to "spare locals from the nuisance of drug tourism", the justice ministry said Tuesday.
The measure will come into force for the (southern) provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland, the provinces most affected by drug tourism. Under the new policy licensed coffee shops will be considered private clubs with a maximum of 2,000 members limited to Dutch residents who are older than 18. The measures will come into force in the rest of the country in January 2013.
The policy aims to cut down traffic jams, nocturnal disturbances, and the abundance of drug pushers catering to the millions of foreign tourists drawn to the Netherlands by its relaxed marijuana laws. The Dutch government also plans to introduce a policy, coming into force in January 2014, requiring coffee shops to be at least 350 meters away from schools, to keep drug consumption away from children.