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EUROPE > Dutch coffee shops to reopen to tourists

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In this Oct. 31, 2011 file photo customers are seen outside the coffee shop The Green House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. AP photo

In this Oct. 31, 2011 file photo customers are seen outside the coffee shop The Green House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. AP photo

Euphemistically named “coffee shops” in the Netherlands that also sell cannabis are reopening to tourists based on a new decision taken by the Dutch government.

French daily Le Parisien reported that while the Dutch government was retaining a law banning the sale of cannabis at the shops to non-residents, it would delegate the decision on whether to prohibit such sales to local administrations and municipalities.

Amsterdam reportedly welcomed the decision, immediately announcing that the doors of 220 coffee shops in the capital would be reopened to tourists. However, some southern areas like Maastricht have decided to vote on the new implementation.

For the past six months, only residents were permitted access to 650 coffee shops, but the restrictions elicited harsh reactions from numerous coffee shop owners.

Coffee shop owners, however, remain upset that the government is considering banning the sale of "skunk” cannabis that constitutes 80 percent of the marijuana sold in the Netherlands. The strong form of marijuana has been classified as a Class A drug alongside heroin and cocaine.

November/21/2012

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