Update on the banning of foreigners from Netherlands Coffee Shops

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Many of us have been listening with trepidation as our favourite pot smoking friends on the continent -the Dutch – the ones who gave us sanctuary in the form of a safe place to buy dope when abroad, and a friendly environment to smoke it in, without the fear of getting busted, deported, imprisoned or ripped off are now slowly being forced to close their doors to us. Yes, that’s right- the foreigners who have appreciated being able to sample a well produced product, toked, eaten or vapourised in a chilled out, social environment – have always been grateful for the civilised and pragmatic way the Dutch have shared with us their wares. A welcome relief from the persecution and harassment many of us experience at home around ‘soft’ (and ‘hard’) drug use.

It never ceased to amaze me when visiting Holland that it was always the milder varieties of dope that were the biggest sellers to the Dutch people, they just didnt feel like they had to get smashed at every opportunity. They knew where the dope was, it wasn’t going anywhere, they could get the stronger stuff any time they wanted it in fact, which it turned out, was not that often.

A giggly smoke, some great conversation, a serious munch out on the way home and voila, gone is the image we have in the UK of smoking skunk that  always too strong, sitting catatonic in front of the TV, curtains drawn, paranoia setting in indoors coz its illegal to go outside and just be social with a spliff…

However, due to surrounding countries still not budging with their own punitive cannabis laws, it is inevitable that many of us in neighbouring countries – or as far afield as Australia and the US, feel compelled at times to skippity hop across the border to stock up on some of the good stuff, in a relaxed and hassle free exchange. But those who’ve been keeping an eye on the Dutch developments around both the shrinking the availability of Coffee Shops, as well as the drive to freeze out the pot smoking foreigner, will know that the first door, in the first city of Maastricht, has been firmly slammed shut.

The city of Maastricht, which is about 130 miles south of Amsterdam (towards the German border) is the first place – (though unlikely to be the last) which has just begun to expell what it sees as the boisterous drug tourists who clog up the streets,  engage in street dealing and petty crime, and regularly cause traffic jams. Determined to prevent them from accessing Maastricht’s coffee shops, hi-tech security scanners have been set up to check passports and ID cards, and police will carry out random checks.

In an effort to bring the coffee shop owners themselves on board with the governments cunning plan, only the Dutch, the Belgians and Germans will be permitted to cross the smokey threshold due to the fact that they make up the largest part of the 6000 customers who  pop in to light up every day.  The irony here is of course that if the vast majority of the 6000 smoking tourists visiting coffee shops in the Netherlands are indeed German and Belgian, how will this go any way to reduce the numbers of ‘drug tourists’ clogging up their streets? There is always more to these drug stories dear readers, so do check back to our earlier story on the Netherlands Coffee Shop ban to uncover a little more about the politics behind it.

However, what can be more easily deduced from this sinister exercise is that blackmarket sales of hash and grass will certainly increase, sold to the illegal alien up a back alley all because his passport won’t allow him to enter the smokey but safe environment of a Maastricht Coffee Shop. Let’s hope our British, Spanish or French friend doesn’t get ripped off, end up in a scuffle or get arrested – after all the cultivation and sale of ‘soft’ drugs is decriminalised – but not legal so one might well stilll end up in the boob.

With over 700 coffee shops across The Netherlands, correspondents say the Dutch justice ministry wants them to operate like members’ only clubs, serving only local residents. Yet despite  previous difficulties when trying to enshrine such an exclusive ban in law, The European Court of Justice ruled last December that Dutch authorities could indeed bar foreigners from cannabis-selling coffee shops on the grounds that they were combating drug tourism.

Check out the video above – it’s the lead story -and follow the link to NORMLs website, which is full of video debates, vox pops and discussions on the world of cannabis.


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  1. Thanks for ur comment. Thankfully it is only one city in the Netherlands where this ban is occurring, but people have fears it is the first of many. Like a friend of mine said the other day, a whole new illegal trade will evolve: people will be hanging around offering to buy dope for the johnny foreigner (for a small fee) and a new ‘middle man’ in the drug scene is born! People who would have once sat and smoked weed after drinking and quieted down, will now just keep on drinking, and yet others will double numbers in coffee shops in towns nearby, making the problem look worse than it really is – or was. Yes, if France or the UK would at least de-criminalize pot smoking, or tax and work with a.coffee shop system, people wouldnt treat Amsterdam as a candy shop and go piling into coffee shops to buy the strongest weed they got. They’d be used to smoking at home and would be more ‘socialised’ , knowledgeable and possibly more reticent when smoking weed abroad.
    U guys in France have got good drug user groups, ASUD, and a legalize cannabis group (with that laughing clown logo?) , yes, support them where u can, we have to stick together and do our bit to push back against idiotic drug bans/ drugs war.
    Thanks again

  2. I couldn’t agree more with you. I’d rather finance health and education than banditism when i buy drugs. And Jah knows i buy a lot when i want to.

    It’s pretty sad that we can’t legally buy weed anymore. On the other hand: is it that bad that a Dutch must “endorse” a turist who wants weed ?

    Anyway, France has been talking about legalisation lately, and Jah knows how facist is the president – they really need money. Last time legalisation was proposed back in the early 2000’s, the assembly was for but the fucking senate was opposed. Now, i’m not here to argue about how un-necessary is the senate … but the senate just turned left-wing so maybe if legalisation is seriously proposed again it will pass …

    On the other hand, repression is so fucking harsh in France that i really wonder how would legalising look like in our country. Weed has so much cool usages it really doesn’t deserve the treatement it currently has …

    Again, thanks a lot for your time. Y


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