What a Downer, Man ...
Folks seeking to plan their regular stoner vacation to the Netherlands might soon need to look elsewhere, thanks to a U-turn by the Dutch authorities.
The European Court of Justice has weighed in to say that Dutch cannabis-selling "coffee shops" can be banned from serving foreigners, as part of the country's new drive to deter so-called "drug tourists". The city of Maastricht has already passed a law to that effect, which was just unsuccessfully challenged in court.
Holland has clearly know about and profited from such high-seeking visitors for three decades, and the move stems from problems in neighbouring states, where citizens had returned from the Netherlands loaded up with cannabis, and, say police, commited public order offences. Germany, France and Belgium in particular had complained about the situation. And politicians in the Netherlands have been increasingly worried about the threat that stoned visitors pose to the Dutch way of life.
If the plans go ahead, the country's 700 coffee shops will be made into private members' clubs.
The real test will be if visitor numbers drop sharply: not what any economy needs in a recession.