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Dutch court bans foreigners from Cannabis cafes

France,Immigration/Law/Rights, Sat, 28 Apr 2012 IANS

Moscow, April 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Dutch court has upheld a law banning foreigners from entering "coffee shops" to buy marijuana and hashish.


The legislation comes into effect in three southern provinces next month and will be enforced across the Netherlands by the end of the year, the BBC reported.


The move has been opposed by a group of coffee shop owners, arguing that the ban is discriminatory against tourists.


A lawyer for the coffee shop owners said he would urgently file an appeal.


Cannabis is technically illegal in the Netherlands but possession of less than five grams of the drug was decriminalised in 1976.


Government officials and police have many times expressed concerns that many tourists are visiting the Netherlands solely to buy drugs, which are then resold in other countries.


Some politicians in Dutch border towns claim drug tourists frequently create nuisances like traffic jams and an increase in dealing of hard drugs on the streets.


Coffee shop owners say tourism in cities like Amsterdam would decline sharply if the ban was enforced.


There are over 700 marijuana cafes in the Netherlands, the BBC reported.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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