Source: NIS News
April 1 2008
THE HAGUE, 02/04/08
A district court in Maastricht yesterday
overturned a municipal decree stating that cannabis bars must refuse
foreigners as clients. French, Belgians and Germans must now be allowed
in, NRC Handelsblad newspaper reported.
According to the administrative judge, the sale of cannabis is legal in
practice within the Dutch law, as long as it takes place within the
legal restrictions. Thus, the drugs can only be sold by licensed cafes
and in amounts of up to 5 grams per client.
This means that a distinction by ‘residency’ amounts to indirect
distinction by nationality, not permitted on grounds of the ban on
discrimination in Article 1 of the constitution unless there are
reasonable, objective grounds justifying it. There was no question of
this here, the judge found.
The sales restriction excluding foreigners in Maastricht, which has now
been ruled illegal, was introduced as an experiment in 2005 at the
initiative of the then Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner as an
experiment. Maastricht city council had closed a coffee shop – tolerated
cannabis bars are called coffee shops in the Netherlands – for three
months in 2006 because it did not keep to the city’s ban on foreign clients.