Dutch Coffee Shop Policy Changes Post-2012

"Dutch coffee shop policy became more restrictive on 1 January 2012. Two new criteria coffee shops must adhere to in order for them to be tolerated were added to the Opium Act Directive for the Public Prosecutor: the private club [B] criterion and the residence [I] criterion. The new criteria were formally enforced in the three southern provinces of Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Zeeland between 1 May 2012 and 19 November 2012.

"The B-criterion stipulated that coffee shops could only permit access to, and sell to, registered coffee shop members. The members had to be documented in a verifiable membership list. The I-criterion stipulated that only residents of the Netherlands would be allowed to become coffee shop members and hence to enter the Dutch coffee shops. These criteria were an addition to the existing AHOJG-drug tolerance criteria for coffee shops ([A] no advertising, [H] no hard drugs, [O] no nuisance, [J] no minors and [G] sale and stock of only limited quantities of cannabis in the coffee shop, which were already part of the Opium Act Directive. The new criteria were intended to counter nuisance and (organized) crime related to coffee shops and the trade in narcotics, to reduce the attraction of the Dutch drug policy on users from abroad and to make an end to the previous ‘open-door-policy’ of the coffee shops, making them smaller and more manageable."


Van Laar M.W., Cruts G, Van Ooyen-Houben M., Croes E., Van der Pol P., Meijer, R., Ketelaars T., (2014). The Netherlands drug situation 2013: report to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point. Trimbos-instituut/WODC, Utrecht/Den Haag, p. 28.