Amsterdam orders pot cafés to close

The city will no longer allow ‘coffee shops’ near schools


Amsterdam orders pot cafés to close

The city of Amsterdam ordered nearly one-fifth of its cannabis cafés to close by 2011 in order to comply with national legislation designed to protect children from drugs. The targeted “coffee shops,” which sell marijuana and hashish as well as caffeinated drinks, all operate within 250 m of a school. Peter Veling, a Cannabis Union spokesman, thinks it’s overkill, pointing out that stiff penalties already exist for selling to under-18s: “They know a school-aged customer found on the premises would mean instant closure of the coffee shop.”

One of the most famous dope hangouts affected by the law is the Bulldog café in the Leidseplein, a popular tourist mecca. Located in a former police headquarters, it was opened on April Fool’s Day in 1985. Though Margriet Bosman, principal of the nearby high school, opposes the new rule—“We actually think it’s just for show”—her underage students admit it isn’t difficult to buy marijuana from the 228 coffee shops in the city.

The new rule is apparently part of a rethinking of permissive drug policies in the Netherlands, which effectively decriminalized marijuana use in 1976. At a recent “weed summit,” mayors pushed for a regulated supply system to cut criminals out of the cultivation and wholesale trade. One city, Eindhoven, proposed setting up a marijuana plantation pilot project to grow pot for its coffee shops. Two towns near the Belgian border, tired of the stoner tourist trade and resultant crime, are forcing all their cannabis cafés to close. A fourth is considering restricting sales to Dutch citizens.

A government report evaluating its current drug strategy is due next year. However, given that 80 per cent of Dutch citizens opposed shutting down the coffee shops in a recent poll, a total ban is unlikely.

News of Amsterdam’s café closures came days before a nationwide halt to the sale of fresh “magic” mushrooms. That ban was announced after a number of incidents, including the death of a 17-year-old French girl, who jumped into a canal while high on the hallucinogen in March.


Amsterdam orders pot cafés to close

  1. Couldn’t they just move the schools?

  2. I don’t think this should phase anyone in Canada. Most proponents of legalization here suggest that any marijuana sold should be produced under regulated conditions. There will always be some trade in ‘the strong stuff’, but it would be an enormous blow to criminal organizations to no longer profit from this billion dollar industry.

  3. “The targeted “coffee shops,” which sell marijuana and hashish as well as caffeinated drinks, all operate within 250 m of a school.”

    Do the pols think kids can’t walk more than 250m from their school? And what about when they are at home or visiting their friends. This is just the first step in trying to ban coffee shops entirely.

  4. Humorous or just plain sad? We have no “coffee shops” of this kind in Canada, 250 metres from a school or 1000 miles from a school. I’m guessing that doesn’t stop many teenagers here in Canada from accessing the drug when they want to and I’m highly doubtful it will have any effect there.

  5. I got so high at the Bulldog in the summer of 2007 that I sang Nena – 99 neuf ballons – at the top of my lungs and tipped over two tables got kicked out. Thereafter, I went to the Grasshopper (as we know) and repeated the song and tippy table…..I made sure that when I was getting ejected I told everyone I was from the USA and was there to experience cheap dope and loose dutch blondes in the R.L.D.

    Good luck ObaMa :P

  6. Canada does have a few ‘coffee shops’ in downtown toronto. all legal – and places where you can smoke marijuana in a safe and friendly environment.
    While under the influence of marijuana, people are half as likely to carry out violent crimes -as people under the influence of alcohol.
    so why ban weed?
    why not legalize it and tax it and make some money off it ! it’d be a good industry to invest in!

  7. Soma: where are these coffee shops in TO? I’m living here & haven’t run into any yet. Please advise.

  8. OMG

    Jim Sweden. That is the best laugh I’ve had in a long time…


  9. My advice to the Dutch is stop smoking their own supply and think about this for a second. They said they’re sick of weed tourism? If they start making it illegal and get rid of the “weed tourists” they will be kicking themselves in the butt. Guess they want to experience a recession as well.

    Too bad…I was planning on heading out to Amsterdam this summer actually. Guess i’ll save my money because they obviously don’t want it.

    I agree with Jack….move the schools LOL!

    Now…if Canada was smart they would see one mans trash as another mans treasure and legalize it. We start opening up these “coffee shops” and of course apply the restrictions you see with alcohol towards it (because even though minors will obviously still gain access to it hey it still looks good on us) and let the stoners come waste their money here. Then that becomes money for the government. Economic crisis solved.

  10. Too bad – After all this time – th eplantation idea is best -it would give people jobs as well as cut into $$ of organized crime. People are going to do what they are going to do – whether pot; booze, prescription drugs or cocaine – better to legalize pot & collect tax from it than let a huge underground business that doesn’t produce any tax revenue continue .I have been aware of pot for over 35 years -and would have no trouble finding it if I were so inclined. It’s not going to go away because some politicians are too wimpy to make a decision. But the CRA is willing to crack down on babysitters, unemployed construction workers, waiters & other minimum wage employees who make a few dollars in tips , while huge piles of money are passed from hand to hand tax-free every day all across Canada in relation to the drug trade. Take a look at your priorities people!!

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