ICJ Upholds Amsterdam Coffeeshop Ban
Non-Dutch EU citizens have been barred from Amsterdam's famous cannabis-selling coffeeshops in an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding a local law aimed at preventing drug tourism.
The ICJ upheld the prohibition in a court case brought by a Mr. Josemans who runs the 'Easy Going' coffee-shop in Maastricht. His shop was temporarily closed after he allowed two non-residents into the establishment. Josemans objected, saying it was unequal treatment of citizens of the EU.
The Court said that the harmfulness of narcotic drugs is generally recognised and a coffee-shop owner cannot rely on the freedoms of movement or the principle of non-discrimination if it concerns the marketing of cannabis.
"The rules are intended to put an end to the public nuisance caused by the large number of tourists wanting to purchase or consume cannabis in the coffee-shops in the municipality of Maastricht," said the Court.
According to the information provided by the Mayor of Maastricht, the 14 coffee-shops in the municipality attract around 10 000 visitors per day or 3.9 million visitors per year. Of those visitors, 70 percent are not resident in the Netherlands.