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A new law that requires a local “weed pass” for coffee shops would not only decrease the number of annual tourists, but also alter the city’s free-loving, laidback image that draws in even sober foreigners.
Weed smoking is part of the local culture in the Netherlands. It’s also big tourism business. So there’s a bit of a conflict facing the Dutch as they head to the polls next week when one of the major issues overshadowing the election centers on whether to limit the country’s plentiful weed-and-coffee-shops only to locals. It’s being framed as a question of preventing cross-border drug smuggling, but for the vast majority of people concerned, it’s really a much broader question of whether a country’s cultural pastime and tourist attraction should be both.
For the Netherlands, the fact that all this centers around what most of the world considers illegal drugs makes things very complicated.