Cannabis shops on the retreat
The number of so-called "coffeeshops"—establishments that sell cannabis—is steadily dropping. In 2009, there were 666, compared with 702 in 2007. This year's drop is bigger than in previous years.
The figures have been published by Groningen University after conducting a survey with private firm Intraval. Last year 16 "coffeeshops" were closed in Rotterdam alone. They were shut because, under new legislation, they were too close to schools.
According to the report, Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal closed eight "coffeeshops" after adopting a zero-tolerance policy. Elsewhere "coffeeshops" were closed down for violating municipal requirements or as part of schemes designed to phase them out gradually.
Just over half of all "coffeeshops" are located in the country's six municipalities with populations over 200,000.
Though selling cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, in practice a number of licensed establishments are allowed to sell small quantities provided they meet certain requirements.
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