Thursday 09 April 2020

Cannabis cafes can offer takeaways to head off the return of street dealers

People queuing in front of a coffeeshop ahead of the announcement. Photo: Dexter

Dutch cannabis cafes, or coffee shops, have been told they can open their doors for ‘takeaway’ deals, a day after the government ordered them shut until April 6 as part of the coronavirus clampdown.

The ‘coffee shops’ now fall under the same rules as takeaway restaurants and snack bars and can sell to customers provided they don’t consume on the premises and do meet hygiene rules, officials have decided.

On Sunday photographs of queues of people outside coffee shops ahead of the 6pm shutdown went global. Almost immediately, street and online drugs dealers made their presence felt, forcing mayors to urge the government to relax the rules.

‘As soon as the ban was announced, we started getting emails from people offering to supply us,’ one student fraternity member told DutchNews.nl.

The decision to allow coffee shops to operate under the same rules as snackbars follows a meeting of mayors, police and justice ministry officials.

The cabinet also looking into allowing restaurants which do not currently offer takeaway services to change roles for the duration of the crisis.

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