Most Dutch councils ignore ban on marijuana sales to tourists

Tourists are still able to buy marijuana in 85% of the Netherlands’ cannabis cafes despite the national ban on selling soft drugs to non-residents, according to Tilburg University researcher Nicole Maalsté.

Maalsté’s research found most local authorities have incorporated the ban into their local bylaws but do nothing to enforce it, Nos television reports.

However, non-residents are excluded from coffee shops in 23 of the 103 local council areas with licenced cannabis cafes. These are mainly in the southern regions.

No problems

Most councils said they were not enforcing the ban because the sale of marijuana to non-locals was not causing problems or because there are few foreigners in the first place. This, for example, was the case in Amersfoort, Maalsté said.

‘This law was introduced by The Hague to discourage drugs tourism in the border areas and every council is supposed to comply. But Amersfoort does not have any drugs tourism,’ a spokesman for the local Christian Democratic party says in the report.

MPs are due to debate official policy towards coffee shops later on Wednesday. This debate will also focus on calls by some local councils to be allowed to experiment with legal production of marijuana.