Dutch Cannabis Cafes To Become Private Members’ Clubs

A man smokes a joint outside coffeeshop 'Azul' in 2008 in Rosendaal, Braban.A man smokes a joint outside coffeeshop ‘Azul’ in 2008 in Rosendaal, Braban.About 30 cannabis-vending coffee shops in the south of the Netherlands announced Tuesday they would become private members’ clubs at the start of next year to keep out foreign drug tourists.

“We will transform the coffee shops from open establishments, accessible by all, to closed establishments of which clients need to be members,” Maastricht’s Mayor Gerd Leers told a press conference in the border town.

In the latest move away from the traditionally liberal Dutch approach to such issues as soft drugs and prostitution, coffee shops in the province of Limburg said they would start issuing membership cards.

The application procedure would take several days, in effect preventing short-term tourists from buying marijuana.

The move is backed by the national government, and is seen as a pilot project for possible expansion to other areas.

Some four million foreigners travel to Limburg every year to buy cannabis, according to a municipal official.

The measure, to be applied uniformly by all coffee shops in the province which borders Belgium and Germany, would seek to “discourage the majority of drug tourists,” said Leers.

“We have been fighting for years against the nuisance brought here by the Belgians, the French and the Germans,” he added.

These included damage to city property, heavy road traffic, a rising trade in hard drugs and other criminal activities.
From January 1 next year, the province will limit the sale of cannabis in its coffee shops to three grammes per person per day.

Each buyer would have to present a membership card that would work on the basis of a fingerprint, iris or some similar identification system. Purchases will only be possible by bank card or credit transfer.

Dutch law allows the consumption and possession of up to five grammes of cannabis per individual, but prohibits the cultivation and mass retail of the soft drug.

Some 700 so-called coffee shops nationwide have special licences to sell marijuana but are allowed to keep no more than 500 grammes on site.

Home Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst told Tuesday’s launch that the new project was the first step in a “harder approach to illegality” by Dutch law enforcement.

Also, the Dutch Council of State, which advises the government on legislation, had asked the European Court of Justice to weigh the legality of limiting access to Dutch coffee shops to Dutch citizens.

An answer is expected in about 18 months.

Several Dutch municipalities have recently announced plans to close all or part of the coffee shops within their borders, partly to discourage crime and drug tourism.

But Leers said closing coffee shops was not a viable alternative, as this risked “chasing clients into illegality”.

– Article from AFP.



  1. water on

    Great job sacrificing your economy for national prejudice.

  2. Mark on

    I was in Amsterdam on April 30. Big party going on. Queens Day. My favorite coffeeshop Barney’s was closed, but it was 11 AM. I did find some great Afghani hash and White Widow at Rokerij. It was really cool to see a 75 year old couple rolling a big fat joint at an outdoor table in front of another shop.

    All is well in Amsterdam, my 4th trip in the last 3 years. Can’t wait to go back.

  3. The Bloody yank on

    Hey cannabis crew—atleast those of us in N. America, let’s keep a sharp red eye on Mexico…things are a-changin’ fast in our southern most N. American country. I could see, in the not so distant future, our hispanic brothers down stairs puttin’ together a ‘dutch coffee shop’ system. Those folks are serious, they’ve got reform going at top speed ~and I’m willing to bet as Cali gets closer to legalization – Mexico’s gonna want to make a little $$$ before Cali actually does it…

  4. man4cannabis on

    to bad i was gona go visit but now i will stay home and smoke one lol

  5. Anonymous on

    Fuck all of those people bashing Leers. He is a good man. Just because he is making his town drug-tourist free doesn’t mean it will affect Amsterdam. Leers is probably the only the only Dutch politician with his head on straight. He is extremely pro-cannabis and wants to legalize marijuana in Holland. Right now the law is extremely prohibitive and 100% of all the pot you all love to smoke comes from the black market which seriously hurts the country. He favors regulated production and less restrictions on its sale to all dutch citizens. And to all of those who call him conservative (he is, but its more complex than that) he appeared in a music video with one of Hollands and europe’s best punk bands Heideroosjes. The video is amazing and exactly represents the Dutch anger at a horrible policy that increases demands but keeps supply illegal.

    Soooooo good

    Here is the english translation

    The government says: “you can’t smoke weed, but we won’t
    take you to task”
    Shops can sell it, but where it comes from – don’t ask!
    You can smoke it, but cultivation is prohibited
    I think that’s strange – how can something that doesn’t
    exist be legally distributed?

    Man, isn’t it dope?
    That you can just light up a joint
    As long as the grower remains unseen

    So now, don’t be such a hypocrite
    Half-assed tolerance won’t solve anything
    Would that I ruled things
    ‘Cause this uptight policy just stinks

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise
    That alcohol is a harder drug in many people’s eyes
    It’s been legal since day and age, hasn’t it?
    So why go ballistic over CAN-NA-BIS!

    This policy rewards the criminal alone
    I haven’t got a degree in this, but this policy I call stoned!



    My name is Gerd Leers, Maastricht mayor; my creed
    Is to get get more kiddos off the weed
    Eight thousand kilos coming in each year
    More than a million come to obtain it here

    Illegal growers we cannot control
    Repression is no option, no law can meet that goal

    I say: regulate, and pass legislation
    To cut down on costs inessential to this nation

    Then police and growers won’t have to play catch
    And to the strength of the stuff rules can be attached

    Let’s go to work with a clear policy
    We’ll put it to the test, and then we will see



    Legalise and regulate

  6. Dave on

    We do know that a lot of Americans if caught at the border, to get a pass, would probably rat on everyone.

  7. Dove on

    I think a lot of ganja tourists will now befriend Dutch stoners (through sites like couchsurfing.com and hospitalityclub.org) before flying over there so that they’ll have someone to buy stuff for them.
    But otherwise I guess the pot tourist trade will go to places like Portugal, Jamaica, Vancouver, and certain states in the US.

  8. Dreamer on

    I’m not bashing anyone. I’m from the states myself and am sad to see this happen. But i do beleave there is alot of us who enjoy this amazeing plant and don’t do anything to help get it legalized. Not saying everyone. But i also don’t beleave in selling anyone weed. I would rather smoke a fellow brother or sister out and send em on thier way with a nug in thier pocket to share with someone else. Share the love is what i say , not sell it.

  9. Worm on

    Thats alot of revenue, we’ll see how long that lasts when they lose all that money. We have a conservative government as well and they are also fucking around with our freedoms, ie, mandaTORY minimums.

  10. Worm on

    WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Lets face it, usa is the source of 80% of the worlds problems and this is just another example. Of course there is no proof of this i base it on american arrogance. Judging from your reply you are probably drunk and i am wondering why you are on this site.

    Peace and Pot

  11. Anonymous on

    If you read the story they are closing border town coffeeshops because of problems from belgians french and germans you idiot!!they said nothing about american tourists at all and if youj know so much about the netherlands you would know that 90 percant of americans go to amsterdam and a few other major cities nowheres near the borders fuck face!……dont be so quick to talk shit about things you obviously dont know!

  12. Rasta Dub Ireland on

    My First Reaction Too this Sad ,Sad, Racist News
    was. What the Hell?. Its like saying to the rest of Us
    “F**K you Jack Were Alright”. Close the borders!….

    Let me be Serious for a Moment. Im a European. I Carry
    a European Passport, like the Dutch Do, yet as a european
    i can’t travel freely anymore?. Me Personay,l ive been
    to Amsterdam many many Times, over 15 times. Never again Sadly.

    Even if this So called Law doesnt move too other parts of the country i still wont visit any country which promotes
    Racist ideals which is all it is. I feel sorry for my Dutch cousins now.

    For those who say i was bound to Happen?.. What? Are we not all in this movement together?. Ov Not.As for the argument
    that maybe We’ll get up off our asses now, its crap. I attended the Dublin March last Saturday the 9th in Dublin
    as i walked i was asked by an American Guy too sell him some weed. What should i have done?. Naw “F” you mate your American. Go HOme?. Seriouly sad Days we are living in..

  13. David on

    Sounds like the end of an era. 🙁

    What a shame. I was really looking forward to visiting there one day and spending lots of money touring around town. Guess I won’t be doing that now, since one of my main interests was touring the coffee shops.

  14. Anonymous on

    Well said…

    As is the case when visiting most countries, Americans have to go and act like Americans, rather than show respect for the country they are visiting, and ignore the fact that it is not their personal playground. Were it not for the “cool, let’s get totally baked and act like we’ve never smoked before” mentality of a lot of people, perhaps these shops would not be heading in the direction of “members only.”

  15. Dreamer on

    Although it is sad to see an end to the “Garden of eden” for those of us who don’t live in Holland, it was bond to happen. I have been to amsterdam 5 times of 15 years. I could see the trouble when i was there the last few times. People forget that it’s their home, not just our smoking play ground. The dutch will still be able to take advantage and thats really all that matters. Maybe this will get more of you to get up of your ass and push for changes to laws in your own country instead of just escapeing to the promise land. I’m sad to see this happen, but nothing last forever.

  16. Sweet Sativa on

    Wow. It seems to be that, as always, the root cause of the problem is being ignored and therefore the solution is unacceptable. The Dutch government is not unhappy with the cafes, it’s policies, or it’s own people. The Dutch government is unhappy about the tourism that takes advantage of the liberal policies the Dutch people enjoy.

    I think the solution is more radical than it has to be. The surrounding countries that take drug holidays should just either legalize cannabis in their respective countries or, at the very least, decriminalize it in certain parts of their country so that they can enjoy the same liberties as the Dutch, as well as the new revenue stream.

    It could have been worse. They could have either close them all or chosen to enforce the laws of their land. While cannabis and hashish posession are tolerated they are still illegal under Dutch law.

    Peace, Love, and Pot

  17. Anonymous on

    holy shit, I just got back from over there. When I was there the lady at the ROOR store jokingly said she will be visiting us in the States to party because things are changing. One thing interesting to note is the swing in politics. The drug change in the Netherlands took place around the same time as Americas. The world is very much like a sin(x) wave…

  18. Anonymous on

    how the hell did this happen thanks alot netherlands for pissing on everyones parade this is retarded congrats netherlands youve single handedly cut your tourism in half………

  19. Dove on

    This is what happens when conservative-minded governments come into power.