Amsterdam tourism may take hit over tighter marijuana rules

AMSTERDAM Officials in the Netherlands are tightening the country’s famously lax marijuana laws, a move that could reduce the number of tourists who come to Amsterdam for pot.

By the end of this year, Netherlands coffee shops will be barred from selling marijuana to tourists. While marijuana has been and continues to technically be illegal in the Netherlands, enforcement of the law up to now is almost nonexistent. However, going forward, only Dutch residents who apply for annual memberships to coffee shops will be permitted to enter.

“In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end,” Netherlands officials wrote in an open letter last week.

So-called drug tourism accounts for as much as 40% of Amsterdam’s 16 million annual visitors.

The new policy requires approval from the country’s supreme court.