Amsterdam's Pot Cafes Are About to Go Members-Only (Tourists Not Invited)

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So, not that we condone going to the Netherlands just for the pot (The Hague is really cool guys, we promise), but if that's your plan, get your hands on a "weed pass." We're not sure what this pass will look like, but apparently it's one way, according to the AP and the BBC, to tell foreigners and Dutch residents apart. The AP writes that once the Dutch government's rules banning tourist from its legal cannabis go into effect, "It will turn coffee shops into private clubs with membership open only to Dutch residents and limited to 2,000 per shop." The BBC notes the idea of a pass is still up for debate. 

But, thanks to a judge, the tourist ban at Dutch "coffee shops" is still on track to go into effect by the end of the year. If you aren't hip to the "coffee shops" phenomenon in the Netherlands (geez), they're places where you can score some soft drugs (up to five grams of cannabis, says the BBC). "The ban is due to start in three southern provinces next month," reports the BBC, noting that the ban was created because of a "growing concern at tourists visiting just for drugs, and foreign dealers selling illegally at home." The government announced the plan to ban tourists from its pot coffee shops last year, but some of those coffee shop owners went to court to protect their right to cater to "gap year" kids and Harold & Kumar fans because of the damage it would do to their wallets. They argued in court that not letting people score pot based on where they live would be "discrimination," but a judge has disagreed.

If feeling like you're 19 again and asking that weird kid in your calculus class to make you a less suspicious 23 on your fake I.D. isn't exactly your thing, there is some hope: A lawyer for coffee shop owners has already said he would file an urgent appeal against the ruling.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.