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Amsterdam to let drug cafes stay open

PARIS — Amsterdam’s 220 coffee shops, where marijuana and hashish are openly sold and consumed, will remain open next year in spite of a new Dutch law meant to reduce drug tourism, the city’s mayor said in an interview published Thursday.

The mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that he had made the decision after considering the unintended consequences of a ban, including revival of black market trade. He noted the current system allowed for the government to monitor the quality of ‘‘soft’’ drugs and to limit access to the coffee shops to those 18 and older,which would be impossible if the trade were again to become clandestine.

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The Dutch government announced two years ago that sales to nonresidents would be prohibited starting in 2013.

Michael Veling, spokesman for the Dutch Cannabis Retailers Association, said the incoming Cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte had already begun backing away from the government’s stance, saying now that the ban on foreigners buying cannabis would remain but that local councils could have the last word.

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