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(NL) Dutch city to close cannabis cafes near schools

THE HAGUE (AFP) — The Dutch city of Rotterdam will close 16 cannabis-vending coffee shops from June 1 that lie within a 250-metre radius of certain schools, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb’s office said Thursday.

“The decision concerns 16 coffee shops that are near secondary schools, as well as primary schools for children with learning and behavioural problems,” mayoral spokeswoman Anja Pels told AFP.

The move follows a municipal council decision of June 2007 which was later unsuccessfully appealed by

coffee shops. Rotterdam currently has 62 cannabis cafes.

The Netherlands decriminalised the consumption of cannabis, and the possession of less than five grams, in 1976. Its cultivation and wholesale remains prohibited.

The Dutch capital city, Amsterdam, announced in November last year the closure of dozens of coffee shops near schools, out of a total of 228.

Several other Dutch municipalities have recently also announced plans to shutter all or part of the coffee shops within their borders, partly to discourage crime and what they describe as the nuisance of drug tourism.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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