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Rotterdam bans cannabis cafes near schools

Almost half of Rotterdam's coffee shops will be forced to stop selling cannabis because they are too close to secondary schools, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

Almost half of Rotterdam's coffee shops will be forced to stop selling cannabis because they are too close to secondary schools, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Thursday.

The move comes as part of a tougher Dutch line on the drug, which is legally banned in the country but tolerated for use in small amounts if it is bought in coffee shops.

The coffee shops are a major attraction to the many young tourists that visit the Netherlands every year, but they are becoming increasingly regulated.

Some are now no longer allowed to serve alcohol, and if one shuts down it cannot be replaced by another.

Due to the growing use of soft drugs among school pupils and problems caused by their sale and consumption, Rotterdam has decided to ban 27 shops within a 200-yard radius of secondary schools from selling cannabis, starting in 2009, ANP said.

The new laws will not cover primary schools, as primary school children hardly ever consume cannabis, it said.

There are about 700 coffee shops in the Netherlands, which, according to industry estimates, bring in more than $1.34 billion a year.