The Netherlands plans to ban foreigners from the country's famed pot shops, a decision Amsterdam's tourism industry hopes goes up in smoke.
The Dutch Cabinet late last month said the measure was needed to "reduce nuisance and drugs tourism," arguing that "substance use of minors has to be countered more strongly and that coffee shops have grown into large points of sale of cannabis that are hard to manage."
Known as the "Weed Pass," the measure will turn coffee shops into private clubs for Dutch citizens over the age of 18. The memberships will last for a minimum of a year, and each shop will have a capped number of members.
"Persons who do not hold Dutch citizenship will not have access to the coffee shops," the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice said in a statement.
"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. After all, many of them can use the illegal markets available in their immediate surroundings," it says.
The government said the measure also is needed to crack down on drug trafficking near the borders with Germany and Belgium. "The number of criminal organizations that will be dealt with will be doubled from 20 to 40%," the Ministry of Security and Justice said in its statement.