Many towns have no plans to ban tourists from cannabis cafes

Tourists will not be banned from a majority of the Netherlands’ cannabis cafes, despite new residency requirements which came into effect on January 1, according to a survey by Nos television.

Nos asked all the country’s local authority areas if they planned to maintain the ban.
In total, 56 of the 100 councils with at least one coffee shop – the name given to cafes where small amounts of cannabis can be bought – replied to the survey. Of them, 27 said they had no plan to actively ensure tourists are kept out. The Netherlands has some 650 coffee shops.
Since January 1, coffee shops are required by law to ensure only official residents of the Netherlands are allowed to buy cannabis products. However, the legislation gives scope for ‘local circumstances’ to be taken into account.
Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan has already said the Dutch capital will not monitor whether or not tourists are allowed in the city’s coffee shops.
At least 1.5 million of the city’s seven million visitors a year visit one of the city’s 220 cannabis cafes.
In addition, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leeuwarden and Amersfoort told Nos they would not comply. Utrecht and The Hague did not respond to the survey but said earlier they were unhappy with the new legislation. The border cities of Arnhem and Enschede have also said they will not enforce the ban, Nos said.
A large majority of the councils that said they would comply with the law and ban tourists have no concrete plans in place of how to do so, the survey showed.
The previous cabinet introduced its new wietpas system in the south of the country in May and had planned to extend it nationwide in January 2013. The new coalition dropped the registration system but still wants to keep out tourists.

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