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Fresh protests as weed pass takes effect

There are mounting protests in the south of the Netherlands against the introduction of the 'weed pass'. As of 1 May, coffeeshops in southern Dutch cities are only allowed to sell marijuana and hashish to Dutch residents with a special card. Foreign tourists are prohibited from purchasing weed.

Coffeeshop owners in Maastricht and other southern Dutch towns and cities are up in arms about the new regulation. In Maastricht, 12 of the 13 coffeeshops closed their doors in protest on Tuesday. The only shop which remained open received a written warning from the municipality because it continued to sell soft drugs to foreign tourists. It expects to be closed down today. 

The law will go into effect in all other coffeeshops in the Netherlands on 1 January 2013. There are fears that the weed pass will lead to the unregulated sale of soft drugs. Street dealers say they're ready and willing to fill the gap and they have plenty of supplies on hand.

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This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011 Dutch government’s decided to cut funding and shift RNW in 2013 from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW’s current activities can be found at http://www.rnw.org/about-rnw