On Wednesday the Hague District Court ruled that the Dutch government must pay damages to cannabis coffee shops across the Netherlands for lost income due to a tourist ban that is decidedly too harsh. A new law went into effect in the Netherlands May 1st of last year, intending to restrict tourists from purchasing marijuana at the local coffee shops. The law included a provision requiring local residents to register for a “pass” to purchase cannabis – a move that has lead to a major decline in the local customer clientele.
“Clients have been scared away”, said the courts. “Part of the cannabis card law has disproportionately infringed the interests of coffee shop clients, leading to financial losses during several months.”
The ruling dictates that the Dutch government must pay compensation to the coffee shops for these losses (the amount is still to be determined).
Multiple cities across the Netherlands have been protesting the marijuana tourism ban for months, including cities like Amsterdam that have openly defied the ban. The Dutch government has loosened the law, giving cities discretion on whether or not to enforce it – and even in cities that have tried to enforce the ban, coffee shops have been standing their ground and refusing to comply.