Remember last year when the Dutch government was trying to pass a "cannabis card" law that would make it illegal for foreigners like us to enter into one of the Netherlands' ever popular marijuana-dealing coffee shops and everyone was all like, mondo bummer? Well, good news — the government has changed its tune and dropped the law, instead leaving the regulation of sanctioned drug use in the hands of local government. Says Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten, "The best way of seeing which measures are effective is at local level."
The cannabis card law — which would require Dutch proof of residence before entering coffee shops — was initially brought to the floor of parliament as a solution to problems with traffic jams, debauchery and the dealing of hard-drugs. According to critics, the law, when put into action in the Netherlands' southern cities, merely exacerbated the problems by pushing drug dealing into the streets.
While some cities will continue to uphold the law, most others, like Amsterdam, will not be limiting tourists' access to soft drugs and coffee shops any time soon. Well, that's good. To think, we came this close to having to visit the Van Gogh museum sober.