Coffeeshops defy weed pass introduction

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Many coffeeshops in Maastricht and Tilburg closed their doors on Tuesday in defiance of a new measure by the Dutch government to introduce weed passes. As of 1 May, only residents of the Netherlands are allowed to buy cannabis from so-called coffeeshops in the southern provinces of Limburg, Brabant and Zeeland. Weed passes will probably be introduced nationwide at the end of the year.

Effectively this means tourists will no longer be able to purchase the soft drug in the Netherlands in the future.

Only one coffeeshop in Maastricht, called "Easy Going", opened briefly and was checked by police. Maastricht's mayor, Onno Hoes, says the coffeeshop will be visited for a second time on Wednesday, because it was unable to hand over a list of members as required.

The coffeeshop is not expected to comply with the new legislation, as the owner hopes to provoke a court case, so that he can fight the measure in court. Mayor Hoes expects to have to shut "Easy Going” by the end of the week.

In Breda, police controls found coffeeshop owners are adhering to the new rules.

Hundreds of demonstrators, many of them from neighbouring Germany and Belgium held a protest in Maastricht on Tuesday afternoon against the introduction of the weed passes.

(nc)

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