Belgian mayors threaten action over Maastricht coffee shop move

Belgian mayors are angry at the decision by Maastricht city council to move three of the city’s cannabis cafes to an industrial estate close to the Belgian border, Nos television reports.

The mayors of Voeren, Riemst and Lanaken are so angry that one is even threatening to close off the border, Nos says.

Voeren mayor Huub Broers says European law allows him to close the border in the case of risk.

‘I can make all the cars which return from Maastricht undergo checks,’ he told local broadcaster VRT. ‘I am going to talk to my colleagues about how we can saddle Maastricht with its own problems.’

Border area

Earlier on Wednesday the Dutch supreme court ruled that Maastricht can move three so-called coffee shops, where small amounts of cannabis can be bought under licence, out of the city centre. The café owners have also agreed to the move.

Maastricht council hopes this will help stem the number of tourists visiting the city to buy soft drugs.

The Belgian councils had tried to have the move stopped, but the court ruled they are too far from Maastricht to merit a say.

Maastricht wants to move seven city centre coffee shops into so-called coffee corners on the edge of the city in an effort to spread the nuisance caused by drugs tourism. The policy was drawn up before the government brought in new rules banning non-residents from using coffee shops.

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