How are Dutch drug tourists being nuisances and attracting criminals?

The Dutch are changing their liberal drug laws somewhat to ban tourists from the cannabis/hash “coffee shops” that cater to the drug tourist and homegrown trade.

They say this is to cut down on the “social nuisance and criminality” caused by this trade, but most of the articles announcing this new policy did not elaborate how these manifested themselves.

What, specifically, are the problems that are caused by drug tourists?

Your question presumes that the government is telling the truth when it gives the rationale for this law. Given the bogus reasons usually given for other laws restricting or banning drug use, it’s quite likely that their “social nuisance” reasoning is also a fabrication, or at least wildly exaggerated.

Well, first of all your title is a bit misleading as we are not talking about Dutch tourists. We are talking about (mostly) German, French and Belgian tourists that drive to border towns solely to buy softdrugs. Many of these towns have a lot of coffeeshops which are only visited by tourists. So these towns are full of tourists buying and using drugs, which many of locals find to be anoying.

Anyone who has been to Amsterdam knows that there are a lot of stoned people around, most of whom are tourists. These tourists aren’t used to the stuff or simply excited to be using drugs legally and show this by being loud and annoying in public. Most dutchmen who use canabis do this at home, they buy the stuff and leave. Only about 10% of all coffeeshop patrons (same goes for the red light district) in Amsterdam is dutch by the way.

I actually live 40 meters from one of the biggest and best known coffeeshops in The Hague and most of the people that hang around there (also outside) are international students and other foreigners, English is the main language I hear anyway. They also have a sort of take away part, and here you will find most of the dutchmen.

I personally son’t mind people coming here for their fix, I also like going to Prague and have cheap pints of beer. But I can understand that bordertowns get fed up. One Mayor tried to set up a ‘dope boulevard’ outside the city, so tourists could get their stuff without entering the city. This was not allowed, partly because foreign governments don’t really like the idea of takedrugs stores just on the boreder, specifically for their constituents. Also realise that we have this tolerance policy beacuse we belive it is better to have some control over what’s hapening, than to push it into the criminal scene. It is not to attract tourists. The current plan is to give dutchmen membership passes which they can use to buy cannabis, this is still in line with the goals of the policy but makes it difficult for tourists to get access.

ETA Many of these people driving over from France do so not only to use, but also to bring some back to the motherland to distribute, so there’s your criminal element. I don’t think it is difficult to imagine how a few hundred daily drugtourists can be a nuisance in 5000 people town.

I don’t know what they say their justification is, but having been there, it’s essentially the same problem you get from “drink tourists” on stag nights in places like Ireland and Latvia. The kind of people who travel over from England, France or Germany to Amsterdam specifically to do drugs are not generally the kind of people who are conducive to creating a happy, family vibe in a city center. If you walk around the areas in Amsterdam where there are a lot of cannabis cafes (although admittedly there’s a lot of prostitution in those areas too, so it’s not fair to blame it entirely on the drugs as a lure) there’s a lot of English accents, a lot of guys who get stoned until they nearly white out then stagger through the streets, throwing up, singing, acting strange, sometimes passing out and needing medical assistance, etc. Often they’re getting drunk or taking other drugs like mushrooms or coke at the same time so you have the problems of aggression and so on that come along with that.

It’s not a very nice area to be in to be honest unless you’re one of them. I find Dutch people also consider it very annoying that they all get tarred with the same brush - when English people think of Amsterdam, they instantly think of drugs and prostitutes. If a Dutch person says they’re from Amsterdam they’ll often get something like, “oh right, into your hash then are you? ;)” kind of thing. Whereas in fact, beyond the clutch of streets that constitute the red light district, Amsterdam is quite similar to the rest of the Netherlands: quiet, quaint, bicycles, canals, very laid back. Most Dutch people I’ve spoken to say they avoid the red light district like the plague, so they find it irritating when it’s taken to define them anyway.

Because tourists have a tendency to go all-out and make asses of themselves.

A buddy when to college in upstate NY about an hour from Montreal. And because you could do all the fun things you couldn’t do in the states, the guys would go once a month and rage in Montreal. Canada wasn’t close enough that you could just stop in for a quick legal beer, so when you went, you went to party hard. And it usually ended with puking on the Metro or in a cab, petty vandalism or some general disorder.

The Dutch can just pop into the coffee shop, buy their weed and smoke it at home. If you are from outside the country, some people may want to maximize the enjoyment since you can’t get there everyday. That could include smoking some weed, mixing in some liquor and finishing it off with other that you have to buy from guys on the street. Sometimes it ends well, sometimes it’s a bit uglier.

Maybe you don’t do that shit when you go to Amsterdam. But someone else will and that clown has ruined it for everyone. It only takes one asshole out of a thousand tourists to convince the locals that the country has been invaded by hordes of foreigners taking advantage of the liberal drug laws.

Unlike what y’all might be thinking this is not really about Amsterdam. Most of the complaints about problems caused by tourists are in the areas bordering Belgium, in such faraway and quaint locales as Terneuzen and Maastricht (the city named after the well-known Doper). These are the cities whose mayors have been clamoring for better tools to harness the drug trade, including a ‘marihuana pass’ that would only be extended to Dutch citizens so that the French and the Belgians would be cut off (I’d like to see that case being taken to the ECJ :D). Amsterdam has it’s share of obnoxious tourists but the drugs seem to be a relatively minor issue there compared to the booze. While the Amsterdam city government has been pushing back against coffee shops and has been closing down a number of them, by and large they realize the economic benefits and the tourist attraction are just too great for them to really put a stop to it. And they’re right: where the French who drive to Terneuzen just drive in and out and might take a shit in somebody’s front yard but won’t spend the night in a hotel or buy dinner, the tourists that go to Amsterdam do end up spending a lot of money on things other than drugs, which makes their obnoxiousness easier to handle.

Interesting, I thought that a lot of regulations would be left to the individual countries that is internal to that country only, so wouldn’t restricting the drug pass to citizens be legal under EC regs?

We want to rent a flat next summer in Amsterdam because with me being gimpy it takes me longer to get around, and there is a lot we wanted to do and it turns out cheaper to rent a flat than it is to go hotel and eat in restaurants 3 meals a day. And it gives us a place to have people visit us - I have friends in EU that we game with, are on mailing lists with, and there might be some dopers that may want to have a small dopefest.

Though I did manage to get to the Anne Frank house last time we didn’t get to any museums, or manage a boat tour.

For many years the countries surrounding the Netherlands have been complaining that their dealers drive over the border, stock up in the Netherlands, drive back and then sell their drugs on the streets, brining along all the problems that entails. I believe this is the real reason the government is making this change: they have been pressured by other EU countries.

As many of you have noted, the tourist who take drugs are only found in certain areas of Amsterdam, where there are many tourists anyway. This new policy will only diminish the amount of tourists that come and create an illegal drug trade for the tourists who do come, while tourists will continue to be as annoying as they always are (obviously, drunk tourists are far more destructive and difficult that stoned tourists). I think the government knows all of this, but they have given way to the complaints of Belgium, Germany, France and the UK.

Also Švejk, as I understand it, it is not the mayors of the Dutch towns that are confronted with these “social nuisances”, rather, they are being asked by nearby towns in Belgium & Germany to control the Germans and Belgians who buy there and deal in their respective countries. In fact I recently read an interview in the NRC (Dutch paper) with a mayor of a border town, who said he was opposed to the measures because he was sure it would fuel the illegal drug trade in Holland.

What it boils down to is this: the Netherlands don’t have a problem, because it is legal. Other countries have a problem because it is illegal. Other countries want the Netherlands to change, thinking this will very slightly ameliorate their huge problem. The Dutch government gave in. Sad.

It’s not just that. The current coalition government + its support needed to keep a majority in parliament is comprised of all the traditionally “anti-drug” parties. The Christians don’t like it because you’re not allowed to enjoy yourself, the PVV is against enjoying yourself if you’re poor, young or foreign and the VVD probably has a mixed view in its constituency but tends to fall fairly strongly on the “law and order” side of any issue. The CDA (the main Christian party) has been pushing anti-coffee shop laws for decades, mostly by claiming the neighboring countries don’t like it, but it’s had hardly any effect up till fairly recently.

Nobody’s going to go there for the food or clog shopping, so they can kiss an assload of tourism euros goodbye.

Where else would you go for clog shopping?