Drug War Prisoners


An Associated Press reporter wins this month's contest with an account of creative problem-solving, European style.

Venlo, Netherlands

Dutch authorities plan to open two drive-through shops next year where "drug tourists" can legally buy marijuana and hashish

The officials in Venlo say they want to make it easier on Germans who flock to the southern Dutch border town for drugs, by opening two coffee shops that would sell drugs to go, including marijuana and hashish.

They also want to keep the "drug tourists" from lingering in the Netherlands, where so-called soft drugs are legally sold in small quantities. Drug tourists draw street dealers selling illicit harder drugs, creating "an environment that generally makes ordinary people feel unsafe," said Venlo spokeswoman Tamira Hankman.

Ms. Hankman couldn't say exactly what the shops will offer, but she said they would not be unlike Amsterdam cafés.

"The new coffee shops need to be outside the city and they need to be easily accessible," she said. "Our city center has been flooded with these tourists and the plan is part of an offensive to make it safer."

Officials are working on the final details of the proposal. If the city council approves the idea, the new shops are expected to open next year after consultation with German officials, Ms. Hankman said.

(Associated Press, May 2, 2001)





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