Say it ain’t so. The Netherlands who have led the way in tolerance for drug use in public places have taken the first step toward curbing the ever-growing pilgrimage of (young) travelers to the infamous ‘coffee shops’ of Amsterdam.
A judge today upheld the government’s plan to restrict the purchase of marijuana to residents only. While here in the United States we can’t decide if a photo ID to vote is too restrictive, The Netherlands are prepared to provide a “Weed Pass” for their citizens.
Beginning in 2013, non-dutch residents will be banned from purchasing marijuana, pot, weed, joints, whatever. While tourism authorities are concerned that these restrictions will result in a dramatic reduction in visitors to Amsterdam, government officials are hoping the ban will reduce the number of drug trafficers who cross into The Netherlands from nearby Belgium and Germany. Popular gathering spots like The Bulldog Coffee House (even my son has their souvenir t-shirt!) would be forced to become private clubs with memberships limited to 2,000 individuals per shop.
So what will the unintended consequences be? Well, in this world of social media, every tourist will have a ‘NBF’ in Amersterdam of course. As Easy Rider taught us, “Don’t bogart that joint my friend, Pass it over to me”.
This will be an interesting ban to watch!