(TELEGRAPH) — “Coffee shops” where small amounts of cannabis have been legally bought and smoked, on or off the premises, since 1976, have become a major industry and a popular tourist attraction in many Dutch cities, especially the capital.

But the Dutch government has in recent years launched a major overhaul of the country’s “gedoogbeleid” or tolerance policy on soft drugs in order to combat drug tourism, which has is associated with public rowdiness in border towns, such as Maastricht, that lie close to Belgium, France and Germany.

The government has decided the influx of foreign tourists, including many young Britons, who come to Netherlands to smoke and consume cannabis that is illegal in their home countries poses a serious public order and criminality problem.

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