Tourist ban in coffee shops must not be ignored: court

Cannabis cafes in Maastricht may not sell soft drugs to tourists, a Maastricht court has ruled.

The ruling was made during the hearing for seven cafe owners arrested in May for selling soft drugs to tourists. They were given fines and suspended community service orders.

Three of the owners are taking the case to appeal. They say the ban on selling to tourists is discrimination.

By law the cafes, known as coffee shops, are only allowed to sell marijuana to people who officially live in the Netherlands.

Flouting the law

However, many of them have been flouting the ban and Maastricht mayor Onno Hoes has been fighting to enforce the law.

The court has now ruled the ban on tourists is not in conflict with the Dutch constitution or European law.

The bigger northern cities – Amsterdam in particular – have said they will use their discretion about imposing the ban, which means in effect it is being ignored.


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