International

Dude, It's The Cars: Parking Problems May Kill Pot Tourism In The Netherlands

A woman smoking marijuana at an Amsterdam cafe in February 2007. i i

hide captionA woman smoking marijuana at an Amsterdam cafe in February 2007.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A woman smoking marijuana at an Amsterdam cafe in February 2007.

A woman smoking marijuana at an Amsterdam cafe in February 2007.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Fairly deep into today's New York Times report about a push by lawmakers in the Netherlands to make it illegal for coffee shops there to sell marijuana and hashish to foreigners is this explanation:

"The impetus for changing the policy originated with, of all things, a parking shortage. In the southern city of Maastricht, sandwiched between the German and Belgian borders, hundreds of drug tourists drive in daily from elsewhere in Europe to purchase marijuana, creating an infuriating traffic nuisance.

"Spotting an opportunity, clandestine dealers have begun offering foreign drivers the option of buying their cannabis without ever leaving their cars. Even local residents who support the coffee shops are unhappy that drugs are back on the streets."

Coffee shop owners are trying to keep the government from stopping the "pot tourism" trade, but as of now the plan is for shops in "three southern provinces" to become members-only clubs starting May 1 and for "the rest of the country's coffee shops ... to follow suit on Jan. 1, 2013," the Times says.

Of course, some Dutch authorities have been talking about doing this for a couple years and it hasn't happened yet. Gothamist adds that "the Cannabis Retailers Association, comprised of the country's 680 coffee shops, has filed a lawsuit that's expected to be reviewed in the coming weeks, and Amsterdam's mayor even opposes the change."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: