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Dutch back off marijuana restriction

THE HAGUE — Marijuana-selling coffee shops in Amsterdam will not be shutting their doors to foreign visitors any time soon, a huge relief to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who enjoy a toke or two in the Dutch capital alongside their excursions on the canals and to the museums.

Amsterdam welcomed Tuesday’s changes in the national government’s drug policies as a green light to let tourists keep using the city’s 220 cafes that sell cannabis, marijuana, and prerolled joints alongside cups of coffee.

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On Monday night, Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten sent a letter to Parliament announcing he was scrapping a nationwide rollout of the so-called ‘‘weed pass’’ that was designed to keep non-Dutch residents out of coffee shops.

Beginning earlier this year in the south of the country, locals had to apply for a pass to get into such shops, but non-Dutch residents were barred in an effort to crack down on crime and traffic problems caused by people traveling from neighboring countries like Germany and Belgium to buy products they could not legally get their hands on back home. Opstelten said he is leaving it up to local authorities to enforce the ban.

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