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News (Media Awareness Project) - Netherlands: Maastricht Loses 'UKP 26 Million-A-Year' After Drug
Title:Netherlands: Maastricht Loses 'UKP 26 Million-A-Year' After Drug
Published On:2011-11-03
Source:Daily Telegraph (UK)
Fetched On:2011-11-06 06:00:55

A Dutch city has lost income worth UKP 26 million a year to its
economy after banning French drug tourists from buying marijuana in
legal cannabis cafes.

The reduction in turnover in the popular "coffee shops", where
cannabis can legally be purchased and smoked, is equivalent to the
loss of 345 full-time jobs.

As from October 1 this year the city's cannabis cafes have only been
allowed to serve Dutch, Belgian and German customers in a bid to drive
away millions of French drug tourists.

As result of the ban the number of people visiting coffee shops in
Maastricht has gone down 16 per cent.

More than two thirds of cannabis smoking customers in the border
city's 13 coffee shops are foreigners and banning the French, the
largest group, was a pilot scheme aimed at cutting drug tourism.

The Association of Licensed Maastricht Coffee Shops has warned that
cannabis users are being driven onto the streets, where marijuana
smoking is a criminal offence, after getting Dutch people to buy drugs
for them.

The Dutch government has plans to stop everyone who is not an official
resident of the Netherlands from buying marijuana in cannabis cafes by
turning them into member-only clubs.

Coffee shops, where small amounts of cannabis have been legally bought
and smoked since 1976, have become a major industry and a popular
tourist attraction in Dutch cities.

One of the biggest problems caused by drug tourism is the influx of
foreign tourists, including many young Britons, who come to
Netherlands to smoke and consume cannabis that is illegal in their
home countries.

The problem is especially acute in Dutch border cities like Maastricht
that lie close to Belgium, France and Germany.

But the turnover of the legal cannabis trade is estimated to be at
least UKP 1.6 billion every year netting annual taxes worth UKP 315
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