Dutch coffeeshops to challenge cannabis ban again
Coffeeshops in Roosendaal and Bergen-op-Zoom will once again present their case against the cannabis ban in court on Friday.
The Hague – Coffeeshops in two Dutch towns near the Belgian border banned from selling cannabis – in order to prevent drug tourism – are to bring another court challenge against a ban, a court official said on Friday.
Two hearings are to be held before the district court in the southern Dutch city of Breda on 2 October – one before an administrative judge and another before a civil one, said the spokesman.
The mayors of Roosendaal and Bergen-op-Zoom, some 15 kilometres apart, announced in 2008 that all eight coffeeshops within their borders would be barred from selling cannabis from 16 September.
The move was aimed at staving off some 25,000 marijuana-smoking tourists, mainly French and Belgian, who flood their communities every week.
Six of the coffeeshops had lost an application before the same court against the mayors' decision the day before the ban entered into force.
Only one of the eight affected coffeeshops opened its doors on 16 September, insisting it was selling "only coffee".
The coffeeshops can continue operating as ordinary bars or cafes, but violation of the drugs ban would be punishable by a five-year closure.
The consumption and possession of small amounts of cannabis have been decriminalised since 1976 in the Netherlands, where it is sold in about 700 licensed coffeeshops.
The national Dutch government announced plans this month to limit drug tourism by reserving hundreds of cannabis-vending coffeeshops for locals.
AFP / Expatica