Dutch government delays ban on weed for tourists

December 15, 2011 - 2:31 PM

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch government says it is delaying plans to ban tourists from buying marijuana until at least May 2012.

Under the country's famed tolerance policy, marijuana is technically illegal but police don't prosecute people for possession of small amounts and it is sold openly in cafes.

The conservative Cabinet is introducing a "weed pass" system only open to legal residents of the Netherlands.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said Thursday a test rollout in southern cities will be delayed until May because of practical difficulties. The cities support the plan, hoping it will solve problems caused by German and Belgians who drive across the border just to buy the drug.

Opstelten said the system will be applied nationwide in 2013, despite objections from Amsterdam.