Tightening of tolerance criteria for coffeeshops

The Opium Act will be tightened as of 1 January 2012. The Private Club criterion and the Resident criterion will be added. The Distance criterion will be added as 1 January 2014.

The Private Club criterion means that access can only be granted and sales can only be made to members of the coffeeshop. A coffeeshop may have a maximum number of members of two thousand (as of 1 January 2013). The coffeeshop owner will have to document this in the form of a verifiable members list and he will responsible for the accuracy of said list.

The Resident criterion means that membership of the coffeeshop is only available to Dutch residents aged 18 or over. The Distance criterion means that the minimum distance between coffeeshops and schools will be set at 350 meters.

Enforcement of the tightened policy will commence on 1 May 2012 in the three southern provinces of Noord-Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland. The policy will be rolled out throughout the rest of the country as of 2013.

Municipalities will enforce the new drugs policy in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service and the police with due consideration for local priorities.

The tightened policy means that coffeeshops will become smaller and more manageable and the attractiveness of Dutch drugs policy for foreign users will decline.

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