Cannabis Card Sacramento

Cannabis Card Forigners Denied

Monday, April 30, 2012

Amsterdam (Article from )

A Dutch court Friday upheld a new law that will prevent foreigners from buying marijuana in coffee shops across the Netherlands, potentially ending decades of "pot tourism" for which this city and others became universally known.

A group of coffee shops had challenged the government plan, launched after southern cities in the Netherlands complained of increased levels of drug-related crime. The decision means that coffee shops in the south must stop selling marijuana to foreigners by May 1. They would be allowed to introduce a so-called "weed pass" for Dutch citizens, who would be legally permitted to keep buying cannabis. The plan would roll out to other Dutch cities, including the popular tourist center of Amsterdam, by next year.

The Netherlands is moving toward tighter controls on its renowned liberal policy on the sale of marijuana even as other countries, including the United States, are engaging in increasingly heated debates over the legalization of "soft drugs."

Lawyers for the Netherlands' cannabis cafes - which number more than 600 nationwide - argued that forbidding foreigners from buying marijuana while allowing Dutch citizens to do so was illegal under national antidiscrimination laws. They vowed Friday to appeal.

"This is a bad decision not only for the foreigners who can be discriminated against now, but also for the image of the Netherlands in other countries," said Maurice Veldman, attorney for a group of cafes that challenged the new law. "We are not a free country anymore because our government asks us to discriminate."

A Dutch judge in The Hague on Friday, however, ruled that the new law was legal because of increased criminality linked to the Dutch drug trade. The move to ban foreigners from buying marijuana, however, is being fiercely fought by the city of Amsterdam, where the cannabis cafes are a major tourism draw and where myriad coffee shop owners have vowed to ignore the law.

"We have tourists that just want to have a smoke," said Michael Veling, owner of the 420 Cafe. "If they're not going to get it, they will ask Dutch people who actually have a pass for the coffee shop to buy it. Or they fall in hands of the illegal street sellers."