Pubdate: Sat, 05 May 2001
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2001 News-Journal Corp


VENLO, Netherlands -- Dutch authorities plan to open two drive-thru shops 
next year where "drug tourists" can legally buy marijuana and hashish.

The officials in Venlo say they want to make it easier on Germans who flock 
to the southern Dutch border town for drugs by opening two coffee shops 
with drive-thrus selling drugs such as marijuana and hashish.

They also want to keep the "drug tourists" from lingering in the 
Netherlands, where so-called soft drugs are legally sold in small quantities.

Drug tourists draw street dealers selling illicit harder drugs, creating 
"an environment that generally makes ordinary people feel unsafe," said 
Venlo spokeswoman Tamira Hankman.

Hankman couldn't say exactly what the shops will offer, but she said they 
would not be like Amsterdam cafes where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee 
and a joint, but no hard drugs or liquor.

"The new coffee shops need to be outside the city and they need to be 
easily accessible," Hankman said. "Our city center has been flooded with 
these tourists and the plan is part of an offensive to make it safer."

Officials are working on the final details of the proposal. If the City 
Council approves the idea, the drive-thru shops are expected to open next 
year after consultations with German municipal officials, Hankman said.

Marijuana and hashish are technically illegal in the Netherlands, but 
authorities tolerate their use and they are openly sold in small amounts. 
The distribution of marijuana in bulk and its cultivation are considered 
serious offenses.
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