Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: A Dutch City Seeks to End Drug Tourism

[PHOTO - Many of the customers for legal drugs in Maastricht, the Netherlands, are young people, and most of them are foreigners.] By SUZANNE DALEY

Published: August 17, 2010

MAASTRICHT, the Netherlands — On a recent summer night, Marc Josemans’s Easy Going Coffee Shop was packed. The lines to buy marijuana and hashish stretched to the reception area where customers waited behind glass barriers.Most were young. Few were Dutch.Thousands of “drug tourists” sweep into this small, picturesque city in the southeastern part of the Netherlands every day — as many as two million a year, city officials say. Their sole purpose is to visit the city’s 13 “coffee shops,” where they can buy varieties of marijuana with names like Big Bud, Amnesia and Gold Palm without fear of prosecution. It is an attraction Maastricht and other Dutch border cities would now gladly do without. Struggling to reduce traffic jams and a high crime rate, the city is pushing to make its legalized use of recreational drugs a Dutch-only policy, banning sales to foreigners who cross the border to indulge. But whether the European Union’s free trade laws will allow that is another matter. Read Full Story...

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