Monday, November 14, 2011

Media Monday - Netherlands Banning Tourist from 'Coffee-Shops'

My disclaimer: I do not condone the use of drugs for recreational purposes in any way.  

In a fascinating story, Maastrict, a city in the Netherlands has passed a law which requires the local 'coffee shops' which sell cannabis to become private clubs to which only Dutch citizens can be members.  Dutch authorities argue that they are doing this to combat 'Drug Tourism.'

The Dutch government for years has been trying to maintain an image across the globe as a place of Vincent Van Gogh, windmills & tulips and not of drugs and prostitution (which curiously avoided this type of law so far).

This approach has lead to some very interesting questions.  If an activity is deemed inappropriate for tourists; why not ban it for citizens as well?   While countries have had this type of double-standards for years (see legal drinking ages), they are commonly brought forward because of health and safety concerns rather than those of image.  If this ban is being brought forward as a question of image rather than being implemented for health or moral reasons, does this not lead the nation down a potentially very slippery slope?  One rule for some and another for others.  An interesting case study indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment