Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 16:09
Coffee shops suing Amsterdam
Thirteen coffee shops being forced by the city to stay closed during daytime hours have joined together in a lawsuit against Amsterdam. A law passed by the municipality last year states that coffee shops selling soft drugs in close proximity to schools must stay closed until 6 p.m. The law passed in mid-November is meant to prevent students from purchasing and using soft drugs during the school day. Coffee shop owners argue they will lose money, and possibly jobs, if the plan goes into effect. Smokers High Life (flickr) The shop owners' attorney, Maurice Veldman, also says the implementation of the law has been rushed. "They heard about it only six weeks ago," he said. "There was no reasonable transition arrangement." A court in Amsterdam will hear arguments on January 9, and judges are expected to rule two weeks later. Coffee shops within 250 meters of schools were supposed to shut down during weekday business hours beginning New Year's Day, but Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan pushed the start date back to January 23, when the court ruling is expected. The daytime closures are part of a broader plan to reduce the number of coffee shops in Amsterdam from 200 within the next two years. Ten shops that can be seen from school grounds will be shuttered by July 1, followed by four additional closures of coffee shops with 150 meters of schools next January. Seven more are set to shut one year later.