VENLO, Netherlands (AP) - Dutch authorities plan to open two drive-thru shops
next year where ``drug tourists'' can legally buy marijuana and hashish.

The officials in Venlo say they want to make it easier on Germans who flock
to the southern Dutch border town for drugs by opening two coffee shops with
drive-thrus selling drugs such as marijuana and hashish.

They also want to keep the ``drug tourists'' from lingering in the
Netherlands, where so-called soft drugs are legally sold in small quantities.

Drug tourists draw street dealers selling illicit harder drugs, creating ``an
environment that generally makes ordinary people feel unsafe,'' said Venlo
spokeswoman Tamira Hankman.

Hankman couldn't say exactly what the shops will offer, but she said they
would not be like Amsterdam cafes where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee
and a joint, but no hard drugs or liquor.

``The new coffee shops need to be outside the city and they need to be easily
accessible,'' Hankman said. ``Our city center has been flooded with these
tourists and the plan is part of an offensive to make it safer.''

Officials are working on the final details of the proposal. If the City
Council approves the idea, the drive-thru shops are expected to open next
year after consultations with German municipal officials, Hankman said.

Marijuana and hashish are technically illegal in the Netherlands, but
authorities tolerate their use and they are openly sold in small amounts. The
distribution of marijuana in bulk and its cultivation are considered serious
offenses.


.c The Associated Press