Netherlands: Pot shops to be off limits to foreign tourists

The Netherlands plans to ban foreign visitors from pot shops in a move that opponents have labeled "tourism suicide."

The Dutch government is trying to stop drug tourism in the country, according to a recent announcement. Under the plan, the "coffee shops" that sell marijuana will become private clubs limited to adult Dutch citizens who have to show proof of ID and become a member to buy marijuana.

The Netherlands has long been known for its liberal policy on marijuana sales and use, making places such as Amsterdam a must-see stop for certain college kids and other young travelers.

"The Cabinet expects that closure of coffee shops to foreign drugs tourists will ensure that they no longer travel to the Netherlands to purchase and [consume] cannabis," said the government announcement. Though the policy statement primarily referred to marijuana, it also mentioned GHB addiction as a burgeoning problem.

Reuters reported that some of the estimated 220 coffee shops in Amsterdam's red light district are starting to close and that the policy will be in effect in other areas of the country by the end of the year.

Bron(nen):   Los Angeles Times