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Netherlands: Amsterdam Rejects Pot Ban for Tourists

By Larry Habegger and Laurie Weed | Permalink | No Comments | November 7th, 2012 | Trackback

Amsterdam’s mayor has rejected the national government’s ruling that would ban tourists from smoking marijuana in the city’s infamous coffee shops. After some legal wrangling in The Hague, the choice to adopt the ban, which takes effect Jan. 1, has been left to individual cities. Although the coffee shops draw an estimated 1.5 million of Amsterdam’s annual visitors, the mayor’s decision was not purely economical, he said. Prohibiting foreigners from purchasing and smoking marijuana in the coffee shops would simply “drive them into the streets,” increasing congestion and crime. Most of Amsterdam’s coffee shops are located in the red light district, where prostitution is also legal.

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