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Amsterdam Mayor Proposes Cannabis Cafe Ban For Foreigners

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Amsterdam Mayor Proposes Cannabis Cafe Ban For Foreigners

Foreigners could be banned from Amsterdam's coffee shops as part of a plan to discourage organised crime and drug tourism in the city.

The city's mayor Femke Halsema has put the proposals forward that would only allow Dutch residents to enter marijuana-selling coffee shops.

The measures, which are backed by police and prosecutors, would mean that foreigners wouldn't be able to enter 166 of the city's coffee shops, and if approved, will come into force at some point next year, the Guardian reports.

Research showed that 58 percent of tourists who go to Amsterdam mainly go because it is legal to consume cannabis.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The mayor said: "Amsterdam is an international city and we wish to attract tourists - but for its richness, its beauty and its cultural institutions."

She said that while the city would still be 'open, hospitable and tolerant', life would be made more difficult for criminals, with a reduction in low-budget tourism.

Halsema said it would mean a transition period for coffee shop owners, as well as consultation period.

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Local businesses have been mainly supportive of the move, with Robbert Overmeer, of the BIZ Utrechtsestraat business association, saying cannabis coffee shops remain 'one of the most important links in the chain of low-value tourism'.

And while he insists the city doesn't just want to welcome tourists who have a lot of money, he explained to DutchNews: "We say come to Amsterdam for the museums, the food, for love or for friends - but not to skulk around, smoke dope and do drugs."

However, Joachim Helms of the coffee shop owners' association BCD, thinks it will increase street drugs.

He told the Dutch ANP news agency: "Cannabis is a popular product that people enjoy worldwide.

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"People want to smoke their joint. If that can't happen in a coffee shop, then they will buy it on the street."

Last year, Halsema considered a passport for tourists, so they could visit an 'out-of-town theme park' as part of a bid to improve the quality of life for those who live in the city.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

It involved a cost of 50 Euros (£45) for a passport to stay there for the night, and it would consist of a red light district, all-night bars and cannabis 'coffee shops'.

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Mayor Halsema has spoken out to say that she wants to improve life for locals, who for years have had to put up with the hordes of tourists that flock because to Amsterdam because of its reputation as a party city.

Of course, the city benefits from this tourism, and before the coronavirus pandemic Amsterdam welcomed nine million tourists and brought between three and 10 billion Euros in income.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: amsterdam, World News, Cannabis, Drugs

Amelia Ward
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