Lawyers representing several Dutch cannabis cafes went to court on Wednesday in a bid to challenge government plans to turn them into members’ only clubs and ban non-Dutch residents.
The move is due to come into effect in the south of the country on May 1 and elsewhere on January 1, 2013.
Lawyers told a court in The Hague the plans, which the government says will reduce drugs tourism, are ‘clearly discriminatory’, news agency AP reported.
But government lawyer Eric Daalder said the government wants to bring the cafes, known as coffee shops, back to their original aim: ‘small local stores selling to local people’, AP reported.
The court will give its ruling on April 27. If the court does not find in the coffee shops’ favour, Maastricht cafes say they will ignore the new rules, forcing the government to prosecute them in a test case.