HOLLAND TO PILOT SCHEME TO STOP TOURISTS BUYING CANNABIS
HOLLAND is planning to pilot a scheme to prevent tourists buying cannabis joints in coffee shops.
Soft drugs are banned in the Netherlands but under its policy of tolerance, people are allowed to have up to 5g of cannabis in their possession. Government-regulated coffee shops can hold a stock of up to 500g. This policy has made the country, and Amsterdam in particular, a centre for "drug tourism".
However, Ivo Hommes, a justice ministry spokesman, said: "We are developing a system whereby people not registered in the Netherlands will not be allowed into coffee shops."
A pilot project will start up in Maastricht, on the southern tip of the Netherlands.
"We want to do this to combat drugs tourism and should be able to start the project this summer," Mr Hommes said.
Maastricht attracts the largest number of tourists in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, including an estimated 1.5 million drug tourists, the city's mayor, Gerd Leers, said yesterday at a conference on tackling the cross-border soft drugs problem.