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Dutch city moves to stub out downtown weed smokers

AFP  |  The Hague 

has become the first city in the to ban from downtown areas following numerous complaints by fed-up residents.

Since last week "it's illegal to use soft drugs at 13 public spaces," the city said in an seen by AFP today.

The ban "to fight nuisance" includes the bustling city centre, the Hague's main train stations and shopping streets, it said.

"During the last few years the city council has received numerous complaints about the smell and noise caused by joint-people," it added.

Police will enforce the ban with an undisclosed fine, but until the end of April offending smokers will be let off with a warning "to get used to the new measure."

The city, the seat of the Dutch government, and police will also start an information campaign and distribute leaflets at cafes, hotels and hostels. An English version for tourists will also be available.

The in 1976 decriminalised the sale of small amounts of -- less than five grammes (less than 0.2 ounces) -- and a person is allowed to grow five plants for personal use.

Wholesale marijuana cultivation and retail sales, which is mainly controlled by criminal gangs, are prohibited.

In recent years, politicians have pushed back against the tolerant policies adopted in the 1970s, including closing down the country's notorious cannabis coffee shops.

The country's top legislative court, the Council of State, in November gave the green light to reduce the hours that cannabis cafes are allowed to do business near schools.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 16:50 IST