The Dutch city passed a measure to ban foreigners from its coffee shops, where marijuana and hash are legal to buy and consume. Marc Josemans, chairman of the Association of Official Maastricht Coffee Shops, brought suit against the city, saying the ruling violates EU laws guaranteeing free commerce and free movement. An EU court, however, just ruled in favor of the city, citing that drugs are not legal everywhere in the EU so do not count as regular goods.
Owing to its location on the border with Belgium and its proximity to France and Germany, Maastricht is popular with drug tourists, attracting about 4,000 a day. An estimated 70 percent of the customers at the city’s coffee shops are foreigners.
Amsterdam has been cleaning up its act too. It has dramatically decreased its red light district and there has been discussion about making coffee shops members-only establishments so as to discourage drug tourists.
The image is an advertisement distributed by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1935. Beware the friendly stranger.