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Dutch Cannabis Cafes to Become Members' Only Clubs

Holland’s reputation as the place to smoke a joint could be about to change, as the southern Dutch province of Limburg launches an attack on ‘drug tourism’.

From January 1st 2010, all coffee shops will become private member’s clubs, where application for membership cards could take several weeks. Any tourists hoping to turn up and smoke or buy cannabis will be turned away at the door.

It is perfectly legal to smoke and buy cannabis in Holland, and around 700 coffee shops have a licence to sell the drug. Four million tourists flock to Limburg’s famous coffee shops each year to buy and smoke cannabis.

Limburg’s Mayor has said the measure seeks to discourage the majority of drug tourists and the crime it causes. “We have been fighting for years against the nuisance brought here by the Belgians, the French and the Germans.”

30 coffee shops have already signed up to the scheme, and the amount of cannabis allowed for sale will also be limited to three grams per person, per day next year. After these measures, many more provinces on the Dutch borders are planning to follow suit.

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