Update (12-2011): While the proposal to introduce a Dutch-only "weed pass" is still on the table, Dutch coffeeshops across the country - except in the three southern provinces of Zeeland, Brabant and Limburg - are still open to tourists. Find out about the status of the "weed pass" on Amsterdam Travel.
The Dutch cabinet has recently made a controversial decision about the status of cannabis coffeeshops in the Netherlands. As of late 2011-2012, coffeeshops will become "members-only" establishments; what's more, membership will be restricted to Dutch residents, which will effectively put an end to cannabis tourism in the Netherlands.
While the measure will ease the troubles of Dutch border towns -- where cannabis smokers from border countries often come over for a joint and some hijinks and then leave -- I believe that Amsterdam tourism will suffer as a consequence. As I write in my article on Amsterdam's top three coffeeshops, "Nearly half a million Amsterdam tourists set foot in a coffeeshop each year, and 10% of all tourists cite it as a motivation for their trip." While it's not essential to the enjoyment of Amsterdam, these open-door coffeeshops are a unique feature of Amsterdam that countless tourists and locals appreciate.
What do you think about these new measures? Would you rather visit an Amsterdam where coffeeshops aren't so prominent, or is that part of the attraction for you?
Amsterdam Cannabis Culture