November 16, 2011- A rite of passage may be seeing its last days. For many years, teenagers from all across Great Britain visited the Netherlands for a weekend break to enjoy the coffee shops that sold cannabis. That pastime took a serious hit recently.
Starting in January 2012, in the southern provinces of Zeeland, Limburg and North-Brabant coffee shops will receive a designation as private member clubs. That designation effectively says “No More Tourists Allowed.”
For now, at least, the capital of Amsterdam and its lucrative trade will not be affected. The new regulation requires licensed coffee shops to fall under the category of a private club and will have maximum memberships of 2,000. Members must be at least 18 years of age and carry a club ID card.
The new law will take effect on January 1, 2012 in the southern part of the country and in the rest of the country January 2013. In Amsterdam alone, there are over 220 coffee shops and over 450 more scattered about the rest of the country.
Even though a number of complaints were made that it was prejudice to ban foreigners, the European Court of Justice upheld the decision. The Court stated it was justifiable to combat against drug tourism and public nuisance.