Amsterdam mayor wants to ban tourists from its cannabis shops

New rule could come into effect from next year

Qin Xie
Monday 11 January 2021 12:34 GMT
Amsterdam’s coffee shops are a key attraction for tourists
Amsterdam’s coffee shops are a key attraction for tourists

The mayor of Amsterdam wants to ban tourists from entering coffee shops in the city that sell cannabis from as early as next year.

Femke Halsema submitted a proposal backed by local police and prosecutors to the Amsterdam council, which stipulates that only Dutch residents would be allowed into outlets that sell the drug.

The mayor believes that such coffee shops in the centre of the city are largely successful because of the tourist traffic, and this in turn attracts hard drugs and associated crimes.

It’s hoped that by tackling the organised crime linked to the marijuana trade, as well as the flow of hard drugs, the city can clean up its image.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Ms Halsema said: “The cannabis market is too big and overheated.

“I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable. The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.”

A political debate is expected to follow, which will include discussions with shop owners on how the transition process will work.

The earliest that the restrictions might be put into place is expected to be next year.

This isn’t the first time that Amsterdam has tried to clean up its image by introducing restrictions for tourists.

Last year, the city banned tours of the red light district.

The ban came into effect on 1 January, and includes pub crawls and guided walks.

Deputy mayor Udo Kock said when the decision was made: “We do not consider it appropriate for tourists to leer at sex workers.

“We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the red-light district, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers.”

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