Banning foreigners from coffeshops not discrimination
Restricting foreigners from coffee shops is not discrimination, Attorney General Leen Keus has advised the Council of State.
Keus wrote in his advice to the Council today that it is not against the law to bar people from abroad from coffee shops; it would not result in tolerated discrimination and thus would not violate the rules against discrimination as written in the constitution and international law.
The Council is not obligated to follow Keus’ advice as it considers a final ruling in the closure of two coffee shops -Toermalijn in Tilburg and Easy Going in Maastricht- that had violated rules that govern their industry, among them the rule that coffee shops are only allowed to grant entrance to members (private club criteria) and adults from the Netherlands (residents criteria). Come January only the residents criteria will apply. A previous attempt to introduce a so called ‘weed pass’ for members failed, because too few people signed up for membership, which actually counteracted efforts to lessen the nuisance caused by the illegal drug dealing.
Press agency Novum has said that so far Maastricht Mayor Onno Hoes reacted in favor of Attorney General Keus’ advice. “I am looking forward to the ruling by the Council of State,” Hoes said. But Easy Going owner Marc Josemans who is also chairman of the Association of Coffee Shop Owners of Maastricht VOCM called it a “miserable advice.”