Netherlands bans tourists from its cannabis cafes
A judge in the Netherlands has upheld a new law to stop foreign visitors from entering cannabis cafes, meaning they could be banned by the end of the year.
Under the new law, Dutch residents will still be allowed in Holland's famous coffee shops as long as they have valid identification or a new 'weed pass'.
The ban is due to commence in three southern provinces next month and go nationwide by the end of the year.
The restrictions came as concerns grew that tourists were solely visiting the country for drugs and that foreign dealers were selling them illegally back at home.
But a group of cafe owners argued at The Hague district court that the ban was discriminatory against foreigners. Their lawyer said he would immediately lodge an appeal.
As one of the country's most cherished symbols of tolerance, smoking a cannabis joint in a canal-side coffee shop is high on the to-do list for tourists visiting the Netherlands.
Gavin Harrison from Northern Ireland who was visiting Amsterdam told Sky News: 'I think it's going to be a shame for Amsterdam, I think it's going to lose a lot of tourists.'
Michael Veling, a spokesman for the Dutch Cannabis Retailers Association, is challenging the government plan and told the BBC World Service: 'It is going to cost me 90% of my turnover.'
'That is a very good reason for anyone to oppose any plan. Second it puts our customers in a very difficult spot, because why do you have to register to buy a substance that is still illegal?'
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