The Netherlands is cracking down on coffeeshops.

THERE HAS BEEN MUCH CONFUSION recently concerning Dutch marijuana laws and foreigners. The articles I’ve read trying to get, like, factual information have all been laced with tired pop culture references (“Pot sales to go Up in Smoke!”) or quasi-euphoric scene enhanced stories (“Jimi Hendrix drifted softly from the stereo.”). I realize we’re talking about pot tourism here, but let’s not lose our heads.

In October, the government launched a plan to ban ‘skunk’ weed because of its high THC content, placing it in the same “hard drugs” category as heroin, mushrooms, and cocaine.

Here are some other changes to the Opium Act set to go into effect:

1. The Private Club criterion.

The Private Club criterion means that access can only be granted and sales can only be made to members of the coffeeshop. A coffeeshop may have a maximum number of members of two thousand (as of 1 January 2013). The coffeeshop owner will have to document this in the form of a verifiable members list and he will responsible for the accuracy of said list.

2. The Resident criterion.

The Resident criterion means that membership of the coffeeshop is only available to Dutch residents aged 18 or over.

3. The Distance criterion (to be added Jan 1, 2014)

The Distance criterion means that the minimum distance between coffeeshops and schools will be set at 350 meters.

From the Dutch government website:

Enforcement of the tightened policy will commence on 1 May 2012 in the three southern provinces of Noord-Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland. The policy will be rolled out throughout the rest of the country as of 2013.

Municipalities will enforce the new drugs policy in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service and the police with due consideration for local priorities.

The tightened policy means that coffeeshops will become smaller and more manageable and the attractiveness of Dutch drugs policy for foreign users will decline.

The bottom line

If you want to visit the Amsterdam your burnout uncle keeps telling you about (“Dude, you should have been there!”), you’ll have to get there by January 1, 2013.

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