Maastricht can ban tourists from its marijuana cafes: EU court official

Friday 16 July 2010

The border town of Maastricht should be legally allowed to ban people who do not live in the Netherlands from its marijuana cafes, according to a senior advisor to the European court in Luxembourg.

Advocate general Yves Bot said he considers the move necessary to protect public order and reduce the nuisance caused by drugs tourism. In addition, the ban would contribute to European efforts to combat the illegal drugs trade, Bot said in his ruling.

The Netherlands highest court, the Council of State, has asked the European court to determine if the Maastricht ban conflicts with EU laws.


The Dutch court is currently hearing an appeal by a local cafe owner who was forced to close in 2006 after two non-Dutch nationals were found on his premises.

Bot said drugs, including cannabis, are not covered by European rules on free movement and trade. And he pointed out, that the sale of cannabis is illegal in all member states. In the Netherlands the possession of a few grams is ignored but still technically illegal.

The European court does not have to follow the advice of its senior legal official but generally does.