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Amsterdam drops ban on tourists in cannabis cafes

The mayor of Amsterdam says he will not ban foreign tourists from smoking a big fat one at the city's famous "coffee shops," aka cannabis cafes.

amsterdam tourists cannabis cafesEnlarge
Protesters smoke marijuana during a demonstration against new government legislation calling for the creation of a "weed pass" and the stopping of the substance's sale to foreigners, in Amsterdam, on April 20, 2012. It's 4/20, now internationally renowned as Pot Day, with many protests planned for 4:20 p.m. (EVERT ELZINGA/AFP/Getty Images)

Good news for tourists hoping to smoke a big, fat joint while on their tour of Amsterdam: the Dutch city's mayor says he will not ban foreigners from Amsterdam's famous cannabis cafes, known as "coffee shops."

This decision follows of months of debate over new drug laws in the Netherlands, the BBC reported.

A ban on non-Dutch residents using marijuana was to be rolled out in Amsterdam by the end of 2012.

The country's previous conservative government introduced legislation restricting the sale of cannabis to Dutch residents who had registered with their local cannabis cafe for a “weed pass," Radio Netherlands said.

But the country's new national government said it would be up to local authorities whether or not to impose the ban.

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Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said banning the sale of cannabis to foreigners could lead to more crime, with the tourists seeking out other ways to buy drugs.

"This would lead to more robberies, quarrels about fake drugs, and no control of the quality of drugs on the market," van der Laan told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, according to The New York Times.

"Everything we have worked toward would be lost to misery.”

An estimated 7 million tourists visit Amsterdam every year, including 1.5 million who come to consume cannabis, Radio Netherlands reported.

There are an estimated 220 coffee shops selling cannabis in Amsterdam.

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