Dutch city bans tourists from buying drugs in coffeeshops

The municipality of Sittard-Geleen is following in Maastricht's footsteps and is banning coffeeshops from selling drugs to tourists. From April 1st only residents of the Netherlands can buy cannabis at coffeeshops in the city. Coffeeshop owner Peter Hendriks fears that this measure will mean a significant increase in the drug dealing on the city's streets, he said to 1Limburg.

The motive behind this measure is to keep so-called drug tourists out of the city. Since former Maastricht mayor Onno Hoes implemented the measure in his city a few years ago, many of the Belgian drug tourists moved from Maastricht to Sittard-Geleen. Sittard-Geleen plans to be very strict in enforcing this measure.

But Hendriks, owner of coffeeshop Skunk in Sittard, thinks that the measure won't necessarily keep drug tourists away, only move the trade. "The street dealers are now also up to speed, they are eager for 1 April", he said to 1Limburg.

Hendriks is also concerned about what this measure will eventually spill over and also affect his other coffeeshop in Roermond. "One mayor is likely to imitate the other and in her wisdom Mrs. (Rianne, ed) Donders will probably follow suit."

The Roermond mayor already sent a letter to the city council stating that they will consider what effects Sittard-Geleen's decision may have on Roermond. She wants to discuss the coffeeshop policy in the council next month.