At least 600 people have lost their jobs since all cannabis cafes in the south of the country have been turned into members’ only clubs, the NRC reports on Saturday.
In Maastricht alone, 360 out of 400 staff have been sacked, according Jo Smeets of the coffee shop personnel association SBCN. And the owner of four coffee shops in Tilburg and Den Bosch told the paper he was planning to make at least 50 out of 73 workers redundant.
In total, some 80 coffee shops in Limburg, Zeeland and Brabant are affected by the new rules which the government hopes will reduce drugs tourism and criminality.
The government closed cannabis cafes in southern parts of the country to non-residents on May 1 and the rest of the Netherlands will follow next year. The new rules ban tourists from using the cafes and require locals who want to buy marijuana to register as official users. Few have done so, mainly out of privacy fears.
Marijuana is not legal in the Netherlands but police turn a blind eye to the possession of small amounts for personal use.
Police in Limburg have arrested 386 people for soft drugs offences since new rules for cannabis cafes came into effect two months ago, news agency ANP reported last week.
And, other research published earlier this month showed an illegal street-dealing network has already developed in the south of the country and coffee shop members are being hassled by others to buy drugs on their behalf.
In addition, youngsters are now being exposed to other drugs because the strict separation between hard and soft drugs no longer applies, the Maastricht University researchers said.
The NRC also reported a increase in demand for seeds and other equipment required to grow marijuana at home.