Rotterdam closes 16 coffeeshops

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The coffeeshops in Rotterdam which have been shut down were located within a 250- metres radius of schools.

Rotterdam – Sixteen coffeeshops in Rotterdam have been shut down following a new government policy banning the sale of soft drugs from outlets within 250 metres of schools.

Rotterdam police said they would monitor the situation and to make sure drug dealers do not set up business from home in a bid to circumvent the ban.

There are 45 coffeeshops in Rotterdam following the closure of the ones nearest high schools.

The new rules, which are designed to try and discourage youngsters from using marijuana, have led to the closure of several Dutch coffeeshops in the Netherlands since it was introduced earlier this year.

In November 2008, Amsterdam announced it was closing down 43 premises although the city mayor Job Cohen insisted the city was standing by its three-decade old policy of tolerating soft drug sales.

Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands, but it can be sold freely in small amounts in the licensed 'coffeeshops'. Paradoxically, it remains strictly illegal for the coffeeshops to buy in their supplies of cannabis wholesale. Many argued this maintains the link between soft drugs and organised crime.

Supporters of the Dutch approach point out that cannabis consumption in the Netherlands is lower than in surrounding European countries, which still operate a purely repressive policy.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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