However, there is a new move which is to be implemented shortly, which means that foreigners in the Netherlands will not be allowed to acquire marijuana in the coffee shops.
Quotes from the Justice Minister in the press set out the reasoning behind these new proposals. Apparently, there is concern that the country has become too attractive to foreign drug users. As such, they want to control the coffee shop outlets.
However there are also concerns that this will damage the tourist industry, especially in Amsterdam.
At present it is estimated that some 1 million tourists frequent the 223 coffee shops in Amsterdam. Under the new rules, the coffee shop owners can only sell marijuana to Dutch citizens and those foreigners who actually reside in the Netherlands. Each coffee shop can register up to 2,000 members who would be allowed to buy the drug, according to reports.
The Dutch government has expressed an intention to begin to introduce these new restrictions on the sale of the drug in coffee shops, starting from May 2012 in the south of the country and the rules will then spread and be implemented in the rest of the country in 2013.
Of course, the city of Amsterdam and the country in general have many other tourist attractions which will continue to attract visitors.