by JOHN SINCLAIR
New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam was even more festive than usual this season as thousands of European visitors flocked to the city to enjoy what they believed would be the last night they’d be welcome in the coffee shops of the Netherlands.
For several months, the reigning Dutch government had been trumpeting the imminent demise of the old coffee shop regime as of Jan. 1, 2012, and the mainstream media were only too eager to amplify the message.
Under the mandated new rules, all existing Dutch coffee shops would be converted to members-only clubs strictly limited to the patronage of Dutch citizens and registered expatriates, and the dreaded “drug tourists” from all over the world would be barred from entry.
But after the border city of Maastricht and other municipalities in Holland demanded that the government delay its plans for at least a year, Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten announced in November that the system won’t be introduced nationwide until 2013.
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