A judge in the Netherlands upholds a ban forbidding foreigners from entering cannabis cafes.
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British visitors to coffee shops in Holland outnumber those from any other individual country.
Although soft drugs are tolerated in the Netherlands, there is growing concern that tourists are visiting just for drugs and that foreign dealers are buying large quantities and selling it illegally in their own country.
New cannabis-for-locals-only laws are to roll out on 1 May in three southern Dutch provinces: North Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland on the Belgian and German borders - and in the rest of the Netherlands in 2013.
But a group of 19 cafe owners argued at The Hague district court on Friday that the ban was discriminatory against foreigners.
A representative of the group said it would appeal against the ruling.
Michael Veling, of the Dutch Cannabis Retailers Association, said: "We are very disappointed about the ruling - we believe around 90 per cent of our trade is with foreign visitors from mainly continental Europe.
"Amsterdam hit hardest"
"Around 20 per cent of these visitors are British, which is by far the biggest individual group of tourists.
"It will hit the centre of Amsterdam the hardest - if you go two miles away from the city centre, the customers of coffee shops are 10 per cent tourists and 90 per cent locals."
He denied claims from Amsterdam residents which accuse foreign "drug tourists" of causing the majority of street crime around the city.
He said: "We have seen no evidence from the police that people from outside the city are responsible for the majority of crime."
Though cannabis is technically illegal, the Netherlands decriminalised the possession of less than five grams of the substance in 1976 under a so-called "tolerance" policy.
Mr Veling added: "We are breaking the law - with the co-operation of the government."
Dutch residents will still be allowed into the cafes, as long as they have valid identification, or possibly hold a new ‘cannabis card' allowing them to buy the drug.
According to Dutch government figures from 2008, there are 730 coffee shops in the country, more than 200 of them in Amsterdam.
In 2010, Dutch coffee shops paid 200m euros in tax to the government - more than the country's transport system.
Dutch residents have long complained about the impact of drug tourism including pollution, traffic jams, noise at night and a proliferation of hard-drug dealers on the streets.
"This is a discriminatory measure," said Andre Beckers, one of the four lawyers who represent the 19 coffee shops, located in the country's 19 judicial districts, as well as two pro-cannabis organisations.
"These 19 coffee shops have been selected to represent the whole country and it is clear that many other coffee shops support the action," Beckers said.
03 August 2011