The Mayor’s Office of Amsterdam, backed by the Police and the District Prosecutor’s Office, announced this Friday its Willingness to prohibit foreign tourists from accessing ‘coffeeshops’, places for the sale and consumption of marijuana, due to the increase in demand for soft drugs caused by ‘cannabis tourism’.
In a letter, Mayor Femke Halsema considered that all non-Netherlands residents should be banned from entering ‘coffeeshops’ because the increase in what is already labeled as “Cannabis tourists” has contributed significantly to the high demand for soft drugs in the Dutch capital.
“We have seen many groups of young people who only come to Amsterdam to go to the ‘coffeeshops'”, recalled the mayor of a capital who has seen the number of these coffee shops reduced from 283 to 166 in the last two decades, as demand skyrockets.
Almost a third of the cafes in the Netherlands are located in Amsterdam, which, according to Halsema, represents a “significant incentive for foreign tourists” who often “cause inconvenience to residents“after doing drugs in a city that struggles with the reputation of being a” party and alcohol “place.
The mayor is clear about the objective of this measure: “We would like you to come tourists interested in the richness and beauty of cultural institutions. and not the tourists who only come here to walk drunk and drugged through the streets, “he said, speaking to Dutch television NOS.
According to an investigation carried out by the municipality, a large number of foreign tourists would no longer want to come to Amsterdam if they are banned from “coffeeshops”, which would mean that, in 2025, the Dutch capital would only need 73 stores sale and consumption of marijuana to meet local demand.
The mayor has yet to discuss her plans with the owners of the “coffeeshops” and the city council, and will commission an investigation to determine to what extent the illegal sale of cannabis can move to the streets of the city if these premises are no longer accessible to foreigners.
Halsema hopes to be able to implement this ban within a year.
These plans are a major policy change in the Dutch capital, which until now had refused to follow the resident criterion that other municipalities in the Netherlands do apply, admitting only Dutch citizens, which the capital justified in its fears of that this strategy increases illegal drug trafficking on its streets.
The Amsterdam city council is also investigating the possibility of moving the Red Light District to a kind of “erotic center” elsewhere in the capital, moving prostitution away from the tourist center.
It would be a bid to attract “a different tourist” to the city, to make it more attractive also for the residents themselves, who in recent years have moved to the periphery to escape mass tourism.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.