As you may have seen, the European Court of Justice made its ruling on the case I mentioned on Tuesday regarding Dutch authorities closing down a coffeeshop which sold marijuana to foreigners.
The ruling, from Advocate-General Yves Bot, caught some commentators by surprise in that he said that the move was not contrary to the free movement of goods because cannabis is not a legal substance.
In fact he went further, stating that the Dutch clampdown was necessary to keep public order which he said was threatened by floods of tourist crossing the border to buy drugs.
This was a commonsense ruling. It is ridiculous to suggest that banning the sale of a substance that is illegal in other countries is someway discriminatory.
Well done Monsieur Bot.
This is joint decision
The extent of the EU’s commitment to people’s freedom to buy and sell without barriers could even be extended to marijuana.
The European Court of Justice is due to rule on Thursday on whether a Dutch law banning “coffee” shops from selling dope to foreigners is, well, not in the spirit of European unity.
Council officials in Maastricht, in the south of the country, shut down the Easy Going cafe for selling the drug to a person living abroad.
The idea behind it was that they didn’t want hordes of tourists coming into town to buy weed – but their tough stance backfired.
The owner of Easy Going appealed the ruling and won in the Dutch courts before the matter was referred to the EU.
Judges will have to decide whether the EU’s laws on free movement of goods and a ban on discrimination between citizens from different European countries extends as far as a substance that isn’t even a legal commodity.
Johnny says: “Can I just get a coffee?”