Coffeeshops in Holland may face cannabis ban

Coffeeshops in Roosendaal and Bergen-op-Zoom will once again present their case against the cannabis ban in court. These coffeeshops in two Dutch towns near the Belgian border were banned from selling cannabis in order to prevent drug tourism from the neighboring Belgium.

cannabis joints in a coffeshop in hollandTwo hearings are to be held before the district court in the southern Dutch city of Breda on 2 October – one before an administrative judge and another before a civil one. The action by Dutch coffeeshops  followed after the two mayors of Roosendaal and Bergen-op-Zoom announced in 2008 that all eight coffeeshops within their borders would be barred from selling cannabis from 16 September.

The move was aimed at staving off some 25,000 marijuana-smoking tourists, mainly French and Belgian, who flood their communities every week.

Six of the coffeeshops had lost an application before the same court against the mayors’ decision the day before the ban entered into force.

Only one of the eight affected coffeeshops opened its doors on 16 September, insisting it was selling “only coffee”.

The coffeeshops can continue operating as ordinary bars or cafes, but violation of the drugs ban would be punishable by a five-year closure.

The consumption and possession of small amounts of cannabis have been decriminalised since 1976 in the Netherlands, where it is sold in about 700 licensed coffeeshops.

The national Dutch government announced plans this year to limit drug tourism by reserving hundreds of cannabis-vending coffeeshops for local marijuana-smokers.

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