Well folks, the fun is coming to an abrupt end for travelers heading to the Netherlands in search of those world-famous coffee shops. Beginning January 1st, non-Dutch residents will no longer be allowed in coffee shops selling marijuana. The new law will begin with southern Netherlands and apply to the entire country by 2013.
While we anticipate many a distressed cry from college students studying abroad, the Dutch government has legitimate reasons for restricting the availability of weed. The NY Daily News cites issues like drug dealers catering to tourists and “nocturnal disturbances” as major motivations for the drug crackdown. Coffee shop owners, however, have serious concerns over loss of revenue.
In terms of tourism, we can only hope that culture seekers worldwide will still add Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to their lists of travel spots. As marijuana becomes increasingly accessible in the United States (for those holding medical marijuana cards — which is pretty much every one of our friends in San Francisco ) heading overseas for a nice buzz may become less of an initiative for meandering tourists and more of a covert operation.
And if you still need a thrill, you can always go for a stroll through the Red Light District!
How do you think the Netherlands’ new law will effect the country’s tourism?