A Dutch court Friday upheld a new law that will prevent foreigners from buying marijuana in coffee shops across the Netherlands, in attempts to end decades of "pot tourism" and corral drug-related crime. According to
SFGate.com, the Dutch government launched this plan after they noticed increased levels of drug-related crime in some southern cities. The new law meant that coffee shops in the south must stop selling marijuana to foreigners by May 1. Dutch citizens will be given a "weed pass," and they will still be legally permitted to buy marijuana. This plan will extend to other Dutch cities, including Amsterdam, this year.
The Netherlands moves towards tighter drug controls, especially since many countries have been engaging in the heated debate over legalizing "soft drugs." Opposers of the law feel that this is discriminatory towards foreigners. One attorney said, "We are not a free country anymore because our government asks us to discriminate." A Dutch judge ruled the new law was legal because of increased criminality linked to the Dutch drug trade.
The city of Amsterdam fiercely fights this new law. Cannabis cafes are a major tourism draw to this city, and their economy would most likely suffer from this new restriction. Many of the coffee shop owners in Amsterdam have vowed to ignore the law. One cafe owner said, "We have tourists that just want to have a smoke. If they're not going to get it, they will ask Dutch people who actually have a pass for the coffee shop to buy it. Or they fall in the hands of the illegal street dealers."
Personally, I think that this will not stop drug-related crime, but instead will force more crime by putting this drug back on the black market. At the same time, it will decrease the number of people who plan to travel to the Netherlands with the sole purpose of smoking pot.