Dutch mellow on tourist pot ban

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The Netherlands has delayed a measure that would ban non-citizens from the country's, well, highly popular coffee shops. It seems a few stodgy southern cities pushed for the ban after becoming fed up with the volume of border-crossing pot-shoppers pouring money into their economies (though one suspects that those buzzkills over at The Hague had something to do with it).

Unsurprisingly, the planned measure didn't sit well with the city of Amsterdam, where some 23% of tourists visit coffee shops during their stay. The southern city of Maastricht banned the French from buying weed in its coffee shops in October and has since seen a 16% drop in the number of cafe visitors, evidence that such bans are neither chill behavior nor economically astute.

The proposal's critics are concerned that along with hurting local businesses, banning foreign tourists from cannabis cafes would only drive sales into the streets. (Of course, all of this is to say nothing of the subsidiary industries that would be impacted, including pot-leaf T-shirts, vividly-patterned glassware, and dreadlock beanies.)

Even as it grows increasingly unkind to bud, the Dutch government has become ever more tolerant of cigarette smoking, relaxing a 2008 bar smoking ban and cutting funding for anti-smoking programs, in what can only be seen as hypocrisy of the stankiest order. Despite the delay, the measure banning foreigners from coffee shops is still set to go into effect nationwide in 2013, prompting us to ask, what happened to you, Netherlands? You used to be cool.