Dutch coffee shops irked at proposed rules

Oct. 9, 2010 at 1:14 PM
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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Coffee shop owners in Amsterdam are protesting a proposal to clamp down on the establishments that have become a worldwide draw for pot aficionados.

"For sure, if the reforms go through it will impact business," Maciej Truszkowski, owner of a small coffee shop, told the Financial Times.

The new coalition government in the Netherlands has proposed regulations for the coffee houses that would turn them into "members only" clubs, which would effectively bar the tourists who fly into Amsterdam for a lost weekend.

"It's a head-on attack," said Gerrit Jan ten Bloemendal, vice chairman of the Netherlands Cannabis Platform.

The Times said Saturday the new regulations were part of a broader law-and-order program spearheaded by the far-right Freedom Party, which made noticeable gains in the June election. Dutch political analysts say it is also a reflection of growing social conservatism among Dutch voters.

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