Amsterdam can curb hours on cannabis cafes near schools

The Hague - A top Dutch court on Wednesday gave Amsterdam the green light to cut opening hours for cannabis-selling "coffee shops" near schools, as the capital moves to snuff out youth drug abuse.

"The Amsterdam (district) court has ruled that the mayor had the right to restrict the opening hours of coffee shops," said the State Council, the country's highest administrative court.

"The decision is confirmed," the Hague-based tribunal said, stressing it "wanted to reduce the visibility of these establishments to students".

As part of the measure, cannabis cafes and vendors within a 250m radius from schools will now only be allowed to open in early evening as opposed to early morning. 

Personal use

The city is seeking to outlaw coffee shops near playgrounds to stop marijuana sales in front of school-aged children.

A group of coffee shop owners, whose establishments are popular with visiting tourists, had dragged the council to court over the measures.

Amsterdam's move comes as Dutch city councils are gearing up to join a mooted project to grow cannabis legally.

The new Dutch coalition is expected to introduce a bill on a "standardised experiment to tolerate the cultivation of recreational cannabis plants" some time in 2018.

The project aims to erase legal ambiguities within Dutch law which decriminalised the sale of small amounts of cannabis - less than five grams - in 1976 and allows each person to legally grow five plants for personal use.


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